Leigh M. Nemetz | Attorney | Writer | 3WCircle Member | TBD
The first half of 2014 has brought about two significant developments for me. As I first wrote on this blog a couple of months ago, earlier this year I left the law firm at which I was practicing and for the first time in my adult life, I am not working. More recently, someone asked me to marry him, and I said yes. And so as the title of this post suggests, I am currently and concurrently engaged and unemployed, two “in between” stages of life, each with its own set of hopes and fears, excitement and anxieties.
In light of these developments, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my future, both professional and personal. I have contemplated the question of what it means, and what it looks and feels like, to seek support from others — financially, emotionally, or otherwise. I don’t presume to speak for the members of 3WCircle, but I would guess that many of them, like me, think of ourselves as strong, independent women: forging our own paths, possibly leaving corporate jobs to pursue our dreams, defining happiness and success in our own terms. So what does it mean for a generally independent woman to need help? We have heard so much in the past year about “leaning in,” but what does it mean to lean on?
When my fiancé and I began dating, we were both practicing lawyers with relatively similar salaries. A woman of the 21st century, I had no problem alternating who paid for dinners and cab rides and concert tickets, and in fact, preferred it. Having him pay for everything all the time would have seemed to me unfair and unreasonable. I have friends who span the full spectrum on the issue of cost-sharing, from stay-at-home moms without income of their own to working moms who earn more than their husbands, and I firmly believe every woman and every family must do what works for her and for them. But I loved feeling equal in terms of earning (and, of course, spending!) power.
For the past several months, I have actively pursued the desire I expressed in my first 3WCircle blog post to enter the publishing world. Pdfs articles by andrew pudewa we’ve pulled together assignment helper http://essaynara.com some of andrew’s best articles from the past twenty years, which will aid school teachers and teaching parents in this journey. I have taken an introductory publishing course at NYU. I have met with a number of kind and generous individuals in publishing who have been willing to share their time, insights, and advice. I have learned a lot about what I hope will be my future career, but I have not yet found my next job or received that next paycheck.
Living in New York is expensive. Even with an income, it can be hard to save money after paying for room and board in this town. Without an income even — hopefully, surely, knock on wood, fingers crossed — temporarily, it is impossible to save, and the best I can do is try to keep my burn rate to a minimum. But I still want to be an equal partner in my relationship. I try not to lean too heavily on my now-fiancé, but I have begun to let him pick up the tab for drinks or dinner more often. Do I feel guilty about that? Often, yes. Not because of anything he says or does, but because it is difficult, very difficult, for someone used to saying, “No, no, it’s my turn,” to say instead simply, “Thank you. ”
But support is not only, or even most importantly, a financial need. Lately, I have looked to my friends for a little extra emotional support and encouragement. Do you ever tell a friend, “It’s going to be okay! It’s all going to work out,” and know with complete certainty that she will be okay and it will all work out? Yet we usually cannot tell ourselves these things with the same conviction.
I am lucky enough to have a friend (in fact, those are her lovely rings in the photograph above) to whom I can send an email that says, “I’m stressed” or asks, “Am I going to find a job?” and receive nearly instant affirmation of the latter and a thoughtful and considered response to the former; and mere moments later I feel better, reassured that I will be okay and it will all work out. Another friend lives on the West Coast and is in the midst of running two businesses and launching a third; but if I sign on to Gmail and see the green dot by her name, all I have to do is send a one-word email (“Gchat?”) and she will respond, ready with her no-nonsense, straight-shooting words of wisdom. That is, to me, the definition of a friend: someone you can count on, and lean
or trying to figure out how long and at what temperature to bake something — when there’s no support quite like what Mom gives. While the first half of 2014 has already included a number of firsts for me, this month brought one more: the first time my mother visited me in New York for our first ever girls’ weekend. It just so happened that this past weekend was Mother’s Day. I cannot remember the last time I was with my mother, who lives in Texas, on Mother’s Day. Because I am a planner, I drafted a tentative itinerary for us as soon as she booked her plane ticket. But really all I cared about doing (aside from a cake-tasting appointment, because I am, after all, engaged, but also because is my guilty food pleasure) was spending time with my mom, and letting her tell me once or twice that I will be okay and everything will work out. Because even strong, independent women want to be taken care of sometimes.