Sunday, November 21, 2010

Riding the Sigmoid Curve in La Lanka

Last week I’ve reached my all time low living in la Lanka.  It is NOT because of the service, good Lord no! (Service Næ ) but something deeper than that.  I really didn’t think much about moving here.  It was just the most natural thing in the world being with my hubby.  I knew it required a dying to self – it was a ginormous sacrifice leaving my life behind.  But it is very clear to me that my life was meant to be lived with hubby, wherever in the world that maybe.  And whatever it takes.  To date, that remains strong (it’s not been a while but still).  My biggest mistake was thinking that I will leave my life behind but pick up from where I left off.  Little did I know that this time, I would be starting from scratch. 

I’ve never been out of a job since graduating from college.  For 7 years of my adult life, my career is what defined me.  I was the HR girl who was focused on getting from point a to point b at work while at the same time juggling school and finally getting an M.A. in Industrial Organizational Psychology.  My life was so aligned.  Now that I found myself being a housewife, all that defined me before suddenly does not apply.  I left my life, but I’m not picking up where I left off.  Instead I am picking up pieces – anything I can get my hands on.

I jumped into embracing this profession.  Interviewing wonderful women who chose housewifedom and learning a lot from them!  I started enjoying the downtime this way of life provides.  As per Diplo Wife, “There is infinite joy to being a housewife if one is to explore all the other aspects of one's life and passions (aside from work).” 
One is writing.  I’ve always enjoyed writing.  I even wanted to seriously pursue it but of course it wasn’t going to pay as much as my old job was.  But lookie here, I am writing.  Writing to live but not for a living.  Also, as per Diplo Wife, “a group of fabulous friends to have ladies lunch with and talk to about the joys and pains of being an expat’s/diplomat’s wife” does not hurt a bit. I think I’ve found some fabulous women in my Sinhala class with whom I occasionally lunch with and share a couple of beers over.  Yes during lunch, why not?

The Academic Wife inspired me to take up a hobby.  And I seriously dove into it.  Even before arriving in Colombo, I have been searching for the perfect yoga center for me.  I wasn’t able to find the best one until I got here.  I tried yoga in a gym class which was enjoyable but another yoga center called out to me.  I was taught one-on-one by a wonderful Indian lady for 10 straight days.  A requirement for beginners.  Now I can do a headstand (albeit against the wall but staying there and breathing), shoulder stand and the plough without years of practice!  Which pushed me to take the Bajaj (public transpo) because some classes clashed with hubby’s schedule - a logistical concern with the car and driver.  Anyway I gained my mobility (albeit with some frustrations along the way) because of pursuing yoga.  And because of yoga itself I gained so much (more on this on a separate post later!). 

Farmer Wife said something that allowed me to let go and chill out.  Hubby will not love me because of gourmet meals and a perfect home.  He has loved me even before he knew how I would fare in that area.  Which made me enjoy cooking more and somehow a consolation in my daily life.  I cooked with my heart.  Not to impress but because it was the kind of food that fed the belly big time.  It also fed the soul – of those who eat but more so of the one who was doing the cooking.

The center of energy in our humble abode
Amidst all these, there was something terribly missing.  Doing all of these can only last a while.  In as much as there are other worldly pursuits that make up a person, for me there has to be some semblance of work into it.  Because at the end of the day, I know I love my profession and what I did.  Prior to leaving Manila I was hoping to find a job here.  I was more optimistic than realistic.  The frustration is because of the visa situation.  It is damn hard to get a working visa if your husband already has one.  I gave myself 3 months to find a job.  The job prospect is not a problem but the visa situation has not changed one bit.  It’s so near it’s almost here but yet so far.  It’s been halfway through my self-imposed timeline and I’m panicking inside.  I might need to accept that I will be a housewife for the whole duration of the assignment (yikes!).  Honestly my frame of mind was that it was a temporary arrangement.  But somehow deep inside I knew the possibility was real.  That’s why I had to soothe myself with the Interviews with the Housewives.
The couch for the potato...
Also something deep inside me is saying that there is actually something that God wants me to figure out, grasp and learn.  When things you think you want or need do not turn out easily, you know the universe is leading you to a detour.  It is frustrating when you don’t know what it is and no matter what you do it’s not getting to you.  I’m sure a bit of it is patience but I somehow I feel there is something else. 

And then the day of the dumps came.  The night before I was thinking about taking a big step.  I was talking about it with my husband and as always, he was all out support.  I was thinking about the timing, that I should the step when I get this job, so at least I could replenish the investment.  But in as much as that is perfectly practical, I knew it was not the right decision.  I decided to sleep on it.  And when I woke up, I immediately knew it was a terrible day that I didn’t want to go through.  I knew I was in the dumps because I didn’t want to go to yoga and I had to ask hubby to stay behind a little bit to cry things out with him.  The whole day I didn’t have the appetite for anything.  I didn’t want to clean (well that is always but on better days I push myself!), and all I wanted was to lie on the couch and watch tv.  Totally unheard of in my past life.  Back then if you feel shitty it doesn’t matter – you just have to get up and go.  But now, where do I need to get up and go to?  There was no Sinhala class that day, not even a grocery day and the one thing that could make me feel better is not until cooking for dinner.  So couch day it was!  I was surprised that I allowed myself that.  But I was just being true and now I have the luxury to.

Then the Sigmoid Curve came to mind.  The Sigmoid Curve is the learning curve.  There is a more mathematical explanation to it but please, let’s not go there.  It looks like this:

The Sigmoid Curve courtesy of
The 2 axes represent performance and time.  In the first curve, when you start there is generally a dip in performance.  Birth pains maybe?  It’s really like that when you learn something new, it’s a painful process as it requires you to clear out a bit of cognitive space to make way for something new.  And there are some things we just can’t let go and unlearn.  When we get the hang of it, what we learn then translates to performance and we steadily improve.  When we reach a certain level of comfort, the subject matter becomes second nature.  Cruising through life maybe?  Then the time comes when we feel we’ve plateaud.  Performance then dips because where you are at is not exciting anymore, it doesn’t push you because you’ve reached a place where the challenge that fueled you no longer exists. 

The trick is to start another curve – a totally different one.  As how you started the previous curve, there will always be a dip.  But your curve will no longer be where you initially started.  The beauty of this curve is that it has the capacity to go further up than you’ve experienced before.  And for me the Sigmoid Curve is a curve of life that we should strive for.  It is also a symbol of hope.   That #1, the dumps will not be forever.  And #2, you’re starting the process of a bigger, better and higher curve. 

That day of the dumps I made a decision to take a leap of faith into a new and exciting foray.  And for the first time in a while, something has taken hold of me in the area of “work.”  What that is, well you will soon find out! 


  1. I suuuper feel you! And I can relate.

    Thank you for the insight of the Sigmond Curve!

    It is a roller-coaster of a ride, I must say. And yes the visa situation is frustrating (that I know!) We seem to be similar in the sense of "making it happen" for us and not just "sitting back and relaxing", I think!

    Hang in there. It will all come to you soon. Two years already, and I still struggle with it sometimes. So you may have better luck, and then you can teach me! =)

  2. Aww... Jen! Here's a big *HUG!*

    Thank God for the Sigmoid Curve! After learning about it whenever I feel down it keeps me looking up :-)

    I guess it will forever be a struggle but the trick I guess is having fun in the process :-) I admire you and your mommyology! I can't wait for the blog to totally launch!!! :-)

  3. I love this post! It made me feel better reading about the Sigmoid Curve too! Sometimes during those dump days... I ask myself "Did I lose it?" "Did I not maximize my potential by becoming a housewife?" "Did I disappoint all those people who were expecting so much of me?"

    Especially when I remember that in our yearbook, I was supposed to be the next female president or something. Sigh.

    But then I think about how I feel about what I am doing (I am enjoying it!) and I think about how hard I've worked (and I realize why yes I deserve to take a break)... then it makes me realize that if I don't think about expectations then I am truly where I ought to be. And that there are many other ways to make money aside from being part of the rat race. And that there are other measures of a person's worth than their careers. That's just my humble opinion =D

    It's good to know that we're in this together hehe

  4. Diplo Wife! The Sigmoid Curve is really something isn't it? I'm so lucky to learn it and happy to share it to the world!

    I think you need where you need to be. With your sickness in the corporate world I think it will not be good to making a baby! Haha!

    You're doing it with such gusto and grace. You are my housewife mentor! Haha! I love it! And yes, I'm really thankful we're in this together! I will call you on Skype! Sorry bad timing last 2 calls! Talk to you soon!


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