Staying Happy at Post

By marrying into the Foreign Service, I had to take a 90 degree turn on my career goals and sense of who I was as an individual. I couldn’t really be a travelling philosophy professor. While it worked for Plato and Socrates to stand out in the agora and teach the hoi polloi, my lack of language skills at our Asian posts would leave my audience laughing at best. College teaching is just not something you can pick up and start anew in a foreign country every few years.

Like many diplo spouses, taking that turn left me feeling somewhat bereft. Who was I? What was the point? Seasoned spouses have found their happiness and identity (or they’ve left the service), I’m not there yet. Instead, I seek happiness in moments and dreams, and wrestle with my sense of self on the side.

One of my favorite dreams is planning things. I love to plan things. Give me a goal and I will work on all the possible scenarios to make it happen. I’ll rearrange your furniture, consider how best to coordinate a vacation, evaluate the features of various products…

So I spend a lot of my time planning.

Sometimes you have to make use of your plans, of course, so we occasionally take trips or organize things.

I also keep myself happy by working. My job is relatively piecemeal and low-engagement (because I mostly fill in for people when they’re out, so I don’t have any projects to call my own) but it gets me out of the house, and moving. I also get to spend time with adults, some days.

I read a lot, which has always been a source of enjoyment.

I eat, because exploring new foods is always fun. Unless it’s squid.

I take online courses.

I imagine an alterative career as a trendy crafter. Then I remember that the kids are into everything, and I don’t have a craft space that I can keep them out of while still spending time with them.

Nothing terribly innovative, but I am finding myself growing slightly more content with these little things. Contentment will be a good place to find.

One of the things I did in Dhaka to stay happy at post was blog. It gave me a project to work on, a little legacy to leave behind as a resource to future visitors to the city. Here in Seoul, there are so many expat blogs and resources in English that my blog didn’t really have that niche any more. However, I’ve joined a Foreign Service bloggers challenge this month, and plan to blog along with them as much as I can.

4 thoughts on “Staying Happy at Post

  1. Hi, Neko, Panda and Lauren, I feel for you, had the same feeling when I went into education with Ray. But after kids were old enough, I joined the League of Women Voters for discussions of events and governments, and contact with other young mothers. It kept me busy through Board meetings, presidency and then back into education. You’ll be in Washington D.C. soon, and have lots of colleges nearby, if you choose prof status, or LWV if you want to stay in contact with what’s going on. We have many profs as members here in Portland, where PSU is close and interested in civics. So happy choosing!! Of course, your kids will be a prime focus for awhile, plus Matt’s progress. I hope that will allow all your interests to coalesce. I’d better got off. Had a nice Mothers’ Day with all the other side of my family, the Cook branch. We’re all participating in the pole-paddle run race in Bend next weekend, so much to get ready for. Had great brunch with all at Daniel and Megan’s yesterday, and saw Mike Thurs. night before he and Paula headed for Hawaii and some paragliding competition off the NE shore of main island. Love to all of you! Jeanne S.

  2. this post resonates with me so much.. i love planning and i’ve been dreading and trying to figure out how to handle the possible change in career (or potentially lack thereof) once we move..

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