Sunday, November 25, 2012

when I grow up

When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a house painter. I'm pretty sure this is because we (we, really meaning the people my parents paid to do so) had just built a new house. I don't think we even watched the painters paint. I just knew that that was somebody's job and I wanted it.

When I was 7 or 8, I wanted to be a paleontologist. Reason number one: I knew what that meant and nobody else in my class did. Also, I felt neat because I could pronounce it. Reason number two: Dinosaurs. Duh.

Whenever I didn't want to be a house painter or a paleontologist, I wanted to be a school teacher. I credit most of this to the fact that my mom is a school teacher. And to my fondness for Holiday-themed sweaters, jewelry, and decor.

Somewhere around my sophomore or junior year of high school, I realized that I actually did not want to be a teacher. I saw how much work my mom did when she was home. (See also: outside of work, off the clock.) I will give mega-props to the people who rock the red pen on spelling tests after hours and spend their evenings cuddled up with lesson plans and seating charts, but, I decided that was not for me.

It was around that same time that I began to really observe some of the stay-at-home mothers of my friends. It's not that they were better mothers than the working moms I knew, but there was something about that idea that I loved. I made a decision: I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when I grew up.

After that, all my "major decisions" were based around what could be done as a "mom-job". Freelance graphic/web design, event-planning, photography, etc.

I had it all perfectly mapped out in my mind. I would work on my degree in whatever mom-job-related area I chose, I would find a husband before I graduated, I would then work to put him through the rest of school, and once we had babies, I would stay at home and do my on-the-side job for a little extra money and he would work hard to bring home the bacon. (I do love me some bacon.)

It's not that being a stay-at-home-mom isn't a worthy goal. It's still what I want to do. And I've gained fabulous skill-sets for many careers/on-the-side jobs in life. So, that's also great news. There is an issue though: I did not get married in college. Part two of that issue? I've never really wanted a career.

Soooooo, what now? Being a stay-at-home mom without a husband is not an option. Also, I don't have kids. And being a stay-at-home single young adult has little to no value. Mail-order husband, also not gonna happen. I still want to get married and become a mother, but, I can't make goals for myself that are based on someone else's choices. Which leads me to this: I have no idea what I want to do with my life. And right now, that's exactly what it is: my life. 

It's kind of an awesome place to be. I can do whatever I want. But at the same time, I have little control over obtaining the one thing I want. And thus, I need to want something new. How is it logical that sometimes the hardest decisions to make are when you're deciding what you really want? There is also at least a little part of me that is scared out of my mind to want something different. It's like my brain is telling me that wanting a career means no longer wanting to be a mom. And there's that little voice that says "you can't do it" "you don't get to dream big, just stay happy where you're at" and "but aren't you afraid that if you try for something new, you'll get rejected? how can you introduce rejection into yet another part of your life?" (Please take note of how that "little voice" is a dummy and doesn't even capitalize the beginning of sentences.)

Somewhere inside of me, I know I can dream. I can want. I can work towards anything I want. I am happy with who I am and where I am at, but it's okay to want more. And to want more for me, by myself. I just need to figure out what I want.

For your viewing pleasure, my "dream man" as of 10 years ago. 
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