September 27, 2018 § 1 Comment
I might be one of the very few individuals in the world who actually wanted to be laid off.
I was in month 10 of a long-distance marriage that was taking an increasing toll on my mental health and physical well-being by the day. When they say that the distance makes the heart grow fonder, they also failed to mention that distance can also make you:
- Severely depressed
- Severely anxious
- Dead inside
“Oh,” you’ll say, “Why did you stay in New York then? Why not move to Tokyo to be with your husband?”
Because, dear reader, when you have a dear husband (DH) who works in finance and whose very compass in life is centered on Warren Buffett’s thesis on compounding interest and value investing, you have to stay for the money. It’s one of those rare qualities that make me love him and hate him (my DH, not Warren Buffett, I only have love for Warren Buffett) at the same time. I love that DH works so incredibly hard to make sure our lives are comfortable and that our future is even more financially secure. I hate that it makes him question every time I buy a “superfluous” purchase–”did you really need to get a $500 blazer for work?” (the answer is yes, obviously, it fit me like a glove and I can wear it forever)–but also grounds me because I know in my heart that perhaps I didn’t need one that was quite so expensive. But again, I’ll wear it forever.
There was quite a bit of money lingering around and at the time, and I was able to be convinced that sticking it out for a year or so via long-distance was the best decision for our financial security longterm. The jury is still out on whether or not it was…but it definitely wasn’t worth the emotional turmoil!
[Without getting too specific or ruffling too many feathers on money (yuck!) and finances (yuck!) and lifestyle choices and dollar amounts, I feel the need to add a disclaimer that these are my own thoughts and opinions and you will most likely disagree with me on these concepts. That’s okay, there’s no right or wrong answer! There’s nothing more divisive than money (yuck!) which is probably why people don’t like discussing it, especially with strangers, so let’s agree to disagree without getting too heated. This is simply my story and experience.]
In short, I was making a mid-six-figure-range salary in a position I really loved in New York. I was very lucky to find a great company to work for and we were able to afford a comfortable one-bedroom apartment and most of the perks of living in Manhattan (paying off our student loans in full, shows, gym memberships, vacations, eating out at delicious restaurants, etc). My DH was in business school for two years (and a fabulous Househusband during that time) and I was able to support us and our two cats and dog while he went to school. My job was also the type that the longer I stayed, the more equity and investment grew and I was very pot-committed to the company, which made it all the more harder to think about leaving. When DH found his dream job for a company based in Tokyo after graduating from B-School, it was a sacrifice we both thought was worth making for the long-term, especially since the plan was for him to come back after a six-month(ish) training in Tokyo. Short-term pain for long-term gain! We made arrangements for me to visit once or twice during his scheduled training and so we began our long-distance marriage.
Unfortunately plans change and that six-month timeframe was no longer in play shortly into his training, long story. We decided that I would stay in New York until I received my annual bonus, and then play it by ear on timing. After I received my bonus, in which I received an even more robust equity compensation in my company, it pained me to think about walking away from everything I had worked so hard for over the past five years. Upon my next visit to him in Tokyo, we made the decision to continue playing it by ear until he had more clarity on his own work timing, and I begrudgingly returned back to New York.
And then sometimes, miracles happen.
My company was acquired by another company and consequently, my position was eliminated and my chance to be reunited with DH was finally in sight! So that is why I really wanted nothing more than to be laid off, and when it happened (after a scary and grim and super dark experience), I packed up our life in New York and moved it all to Japan.
Now I start my new journey in Tokyo.
Why “Career: Housewife”?
It turns out there are a lot of forms that you have to fill out when starting a new life in a new country. On all of them, I consistently noticed that under the “Career” or “Occupation” pre-selected fields, there is no option for “Unemployed”. It’s just “Housewife.” And I am completely okay with that. It was a little shock at first, maybe because I had never really noticed it in the States, but I began to proudly label myself as a Housewife in all of my documents and introductions.
Being a professional housewife is HARD WORK! I am still going to work just as hard at being a Housewife in Tokyo and learning how to be me in this new stage of life. There are so many things I have to learn and solve and challenge myself with, and learning Japanese is just one of the many items on that list.
I do have a lot of thoughts on this term alone that maybe I will elaborate on at a later date. I am still navigating my way through the vibrant and still very-foreign landscape of my new home.
Thanks for reading the long version of why I am now a Career Housewife and why I am going to live it to the best of my ability.
I am very much writing and filming from the perspective of a childless housewife. So yes, I have relatively more free time than a mother of a human child. (Fur babies count for a little at least though, right?)