For the past few days, I’ve been contemplating my life and the choices I’ve made that have led me to the place I’m at right now. My personal life, my identity as a Mother, my status as someone’s friend, my career, (or should I say, lack thereof). Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. All of the choices I’ve made and things that I’ve went through have made me the woman that I am today and I’m proud to be that woman! That’s not to say that things are perfect. Far from it. But, I decided a while back that things don’t have to be perfect for me to be happy and live in the moment instead of worrying about the future and all the pitfalls and doom and gloom that it might hold. That doesn’t mean I still don’t worry. Quite the contrary.
My mind sometimes takes hold of me and tries desperately to drag me down into the depths of the darkest, murkiest, most dismal ruins of my soul. At times, I’ve found myself in this no man’s land and couldn’t even remember how I got there. Other times, I’ve felt the descent coming on for days and tried to fight it with every fiber of my being. But in the end, the darkness and sadness won. It never lasts for very long. After everything I’ve been through, I’m not willing to remain in that closed off space where despair and hopelessness lurk around every corner, waiting like a thief in the night to steal my joy and prove not only to myself, but also to the world around me, that my worst fears are now reality. I’m way too upbeat and optimistic to remain in that horrid state of mind for long.
And so, this thought has led me to my current crossroads in life. (I seem to have a lot of those!) I’m at an age where most women are settling into a career, married, and beginning their families. An age where most women are frantically trying to juggle motherhood, work, taking care of their house, carpools, PTA meetings, their kids sports, being a good wife, lover, and friend, and finally finding time for themselves. I’m at an age where all of those things should be new and exciting for me, but they’re not.
My life is different than most women my age. I had my children at a young age. A very young age. Too young. And I got married at a young age. A very young age. Too young. I’ve already done the juggling act. I’ve already balanced home, kids, work, sports, and all that other jazz, plus college! I’ve already been at that frazzled state where you’re just ready to run away from home to find a measly few little minutes of peace. I’ve been to the depths of insanity and exhaustion that comes with the territory when you’re a working mother and wife. And I wouldn’t trade a single second of it! Like I said, my past is what has made me the woman that I am today. But there is certainly a trade off when you make choices such as mine so early in life.
Long story short, after a little more than a decade in a loveless, hopeless, huge mistake of a marriage, I’m now divorced and my kids don’t live with me anymore. One’s grown and the other decided on a much different path than I ever could have imagined for him. One that lies with his father. And, as many of you already know, I found what I believe to be truly and without a doubt, my soul mate in this world. My Mountain Man. My other half. And with him, life has had new meaning and promise and hope eternal for my happily ever after. There are still pieces missing, but none that one look from him, one touch of his hands on mine, can’t fix. Even with him by my side, I still have things left in this world that I want to do before I die. Like find a job, at this point! Not just a job, but a career. A way of life, if you will.
My life now looks more like that of the middle aged woman (not that I’m middle aged) whose children have left the nest and she’s now trying to create a new identity in this big old world. It’s funny. I used to think I would enjoy this time so much when I was younger. I used to think of all the things I’d get to do when my kids were grown. (And I am getting to do quite a bit of them!) Don’t get me wrong, tho. I love being a Mother. My whole, entire adult life, that’s how I’ve most strongly identified myself. As a Mother. However, any of you out there who have survived a day, alone in a house with two small kids, knows exactly what I’m talking about. We love our kids, and we cherish every moment we have with them, but we secretly, (or in my case, openly), dream about the day when we can sit down and read a book, have an uninterrupted thought, have an adult conversation, or (insert your “guilty indulgence here”), without having to change a diaper, or clean up spilled milk, or referee a fight between two brothers hell bent on killing each other over who took the last cookie from the jar. We want to feel like a woman again, an intelligent human being, capable of anything she sets her mind to!
And so, here I am. Looking for a new direction, yet again. I’m not veering too far from the path I’m already on in life, but I’m looking for a detour that will lead me to a career that’s fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying on an intellectual and emotional level. I want to matter. I want my work to mean something. I want to make a difference in people’s lives and I want the end result to be a life well lived and full of promise and hope for every single person whom I’ve come in contact with throughout my years on this earth. Even if it’s only through a smile to a stranger on the street. I want to make a difference.
And I’m going to!!!
Right after I finish frosting those cupcakes I baked this morning!