Saturday, March 01, 2008

Grown Up

Shortly after my friend's 42nd birthday, she sat in my car and sobbed. "All the things I wanted to do with my life... I've failed. Now I can't do them. I'm too old."

At 15 years her junior, it felt ridiculous for me to console her. Not only were my 30's stretching out before me, but I had 20's left to go. I remember trying to tell her stories I'd read about people, notably older than she, who started a new business, tried new things. I tried to explain that she wasn't to old to learn new skills.

It is strange, though, as a child you dream of what you want to do when you grow up. You finish high school and head into college thinking that you have to make this decision by the time you're 19. I remember how heavily these decisions weighed on me my freshman year of college. I picked a major, Communications Broadcast with an emphasis in Sales. I finished college, got a job and put Wendell through school.

After I had Emma and no job I tried to find some kind of relevance to my life. Stay-at-home momhood hit me hard. I tried my hand at a couple of MLMs and started up more than one business only to find no success. When Emma was in 1st grade, I went to my first PTA meeting. Soon I was signed up to do the Carnival, help with Reflections and more. And I felt a kind of coming home.

For now, volunteering fills that void that I had previously experienced. I know that I'm helping my school. During an average school year, I probably spend 5 hours a week at the school or in some volunteering basis. And I'm happy. But I also know that this is not all.

At 31 and with my 32nd birthday approaching, I wonder what I'll be when I grow up. There is so much that I could do. So much that I could give. I simply try to keep my mind and my heart open to possibilities. Knowing that whatever I do must fit the parameters of my life (work around my kids' and hubby's schedules) or I won't enjoy it. But knowing that there will be something, constantly something to look forward to. And I'm glad that I have 60 more years of my life to do it in.

7 comments:

hayngrl101 said...

Sometimes I think its more practical to figure these things out once you are an established adult with kids... seriously. I puttered around majoring in computer science and it wasn't until my daughter was almost 1 that I switched my major to speech language pathology and never looked back. At the moment, I am the major breadwinner for my family and I'm still able to work part-time around school, DH's committments, doc appointments, etc. I love it, and I know I wouldn't have been happy in comp science, working full time, etc...

Jen said...

One of my dearest friends got married, had 3 kids, and then when her youngest was in Junior High, decided she had missed out by not going to college. She not only graduated from college with a degree in Special Ed, she's now a fabulous teacher and was promoted to "Intervention Specialist" in her district. She has created a fabulous professional network, and she's finishing up her masters degree this year. Now that her kids are all grown up and out of the house, she's really doing some great things career wise that wouldn't have been available to her before when she had small kids underfoot.

Holly said...

She was too old at 42? I just turned 41. Holy cow, I'm a kid masquerading as an adult. I'm too young to be a grown-up! I still have a whole lot of livin' to do!!!

Katrina said...

Hi, Jenna, thanks for stopping by my blog! I don't know that it's ever too late to figure out what you wanna be when you grow up. I got my degree in Broadcasting, worked in the field for a year, and don't plan on ever going back. And that's ok. There are lots of options out there.

Debbie said...

I'm going to be 40 in a year and a half and I know what she is feeling. Being a stay at home mom hit me hard, especially since I was in the working field for years, I know what I'm missing. I've had that void and still try to fill it. I too am a volunteer with the PTA and now Cubmaster. They seem to help, at least I feel more of an identity then just mom.

CwazyLawa said...

Growing up I always wondered if my mom felt like she didn't get to live out her dreams because she was busy raising the six of us. When I moved out of the house and got married (I'm the youngest) I saw her go through the hardest time of her life. I always admired her for putting her heart and soul and all her time into us. She has told me since that raising a family was her only dream. I'm sure your kids will always appreciate the sacrifice you are making for them, too. Moms like you and my mom are the reason daughters want to grow up to be exactly like you.

Mom2My6Kids said...

Okay, I loved lara's comment. I get discouraged way too much as a mom. I don't want to turn 42 a feel like your friend but i feel like i'm on that track. I needed this post to help me refocus. thanks Jenna!