I remember standing in my friend's classroom as if it were yesterday. It plays back in my mind like a movie. She was fawning over me and my life, talking about how lucky I was. My heart sank a little. Probably pregnancy hormones (I was well-along with my first), but nevertheless I felt sad.
"Eh," I told her, "It's kinda sad, actually."
"What? How so?" she asked me.
"Well I have pretty much achieved everything I ever hoped for."
"How is that a bad thing?" she asked me, confused.
"I graduated high school, made it through college, got married, got my teaching certificate, found a great job, bought my own house, and have a baby on the way. All that's really left to do now is wait...to die, I guess..." I said. It sounded absurd to her, but it's truly how I felt.
In my senior book I had mapped out my life. In five years I wanted to be married and have at least one child. By my calculations I was already two years behind on my 'life plan.' I wanted to be a stay at home mommy with five children by the time I was 28. That was never going to happen. I was more the bread-winner, and child care for five kids would've broke us. Not to mention my husband and I were merely roommates who tolerated each other. Not much chance of another baby in that respect.
My family was done. I never wanted to "be" anything higher than a teacher, so my career was set. What was left? I had been so busy planning my life, I hadn't been living it. I was setting all these goals and time lines, so all I saw was the achievement. At age 25 I felt like I had accomplished everything I had set out for, and therefore my life lacked any further purpose.
Throughout the next couple of years I found myself feeling lost. I had no plans for my future. I often longed for the past. I missed my teen years. I missed my best friend. I missed dating and falling for boys and being independent. Nothing made sense.
And thus began the 'dark years.' I guess it only spanned about a year, but it was the time of life for me that was my "rebellion." My marriage was failing (hell it was failing from day one, but at this point it was undeniable), my mom was sick and as far as I could tell she was dying, and my baby was growing up. My job was unraveling (read The Beast posts) and life was essentially a mess. I took up with a friend who was the Louise to my Thelma. She understood where I was and where I had been, and we made the most of a bad situation (read: drank a lot of Malibu).
By the time I came out of the dark period I was going through a divorce and fed up with my job no matter what school I was at. I had found my mister (aka Soul Mate) at that point, and between him and my Louise, I had learned something tremendous.
How to live for today.
I let go of time limits and life constraints and the "how it 'should' be" and learned to enjoy each day. I learned to take life as it comess. I learned to have expectations but not limits. I decided that I didn't have to have a complete family by the time I was 28. Ten years isn't too much between two people who get each other and are in love. Thirty isn't too old to make babies. Teaching isn't the ONLY thing I can do well. Step parents CAN be great and make a family complete. Life DOES go on.
And now? I have two children, and am entertaining the idea of more.
I'm a stay at home mommy with a college education and a husband who still makes my heart flutter.
I look back at that senior book and see that I got where I wanted to go, I just took the long way there.
And THAT is ok.
Because life isn't ever what you expect it to be. But if you get it figured out, it might just turn out to be even better than you imagined.
Now I am not waiting to die. I have too much living to do :)