So, today’s the day! I’m finally forty! I don’t feel any different. I don’t think I look any different. I didn’t receive a membership card in the mail or anything. Everyone keeps welcoming me to the “club”. A natural inclination for me, as I reach this milestone, is to assess my life, thus far. To look back on what my hopes and dreams were at a very young age and to see where I actually ended up. But, my journey isn’t finished yet.
I distinctly remember that one of my best friends in high school and I had it all figured out. In our senior yearbook, we actually put our dreams out there for everyone to see. We proclaimed that she would be a dancer and I would be writing feature stories about her in a magazine. How fabulous is that?! At the time, she was a cheerleader and a dancer – I was the yearbook editor, with a weekly newspaper column in the local paper. Polar opposites that cosmically found and adored one another. I think I’ve always enjoyed being around people that aren’t much like me. I feel drawn to them, probably because they can teach me more and expose me to things I know I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. I’ve never understood people who only gravitate toward people exactly like themselves. Seems a bit boring to me.
Funny thing is – she is actually doing all of that now. She has been dancing all over the world and now works for Cirque Productions where she choreographs and helps to produce shows and design costumes and the like. So exciting! I am able to live vicariously through her Facebook posts. I see her traveling to
France and and speaking of encounters with celebrities and think, “Wow, what a lucky girl!” Japan
Me, however – not so much. My career took a turn to the more practical – I became an accountant – sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? The biggest turn it took is when I became a full-time stay-at-home Mom. Something I NEVER thought I would do. In my career as an accountant, I dealt with CEO’s, CFO’s, attorneys, etc. However, none of that was anywhere nearly as challenging (or intimidating) as staying at home with my son. All day – every day. No sick days, little time to myself. Nowhere to retreat to when I was having a bad day. Worrying about making the wrong decisions for this little person that will adversely affect him for the rest of his life! He’s an only child, which I think makes it worse. He’s the only chance I have to get it right. I can’t be consoled by the fact that if I screw it up too badly with him, perhaps I’ll get it right with the next one.
So, while my friend posts all of her exciting adventures of her work and travels on her Facebook page, I’m making status updates about my son’s tantrums, needing a glass of wine, asking for refrigerator recommendations and looking forward to date night with my hubby. I know – I’m leaving you on the edge of your seat, wanting more!
I’ve talked to my fabulous friend about how interesting her life is and how envious I am of her adventures. She let me know that she, in fact, is a bit envious of me and my “Mommy” friends. We have families and have “settled down”, which is something she really wants for herself, but her lifestyle makes it very hard to do.
Grass is always greener – or is it?
We always tend to yearn for what we don’t have. More children. To have a career. To stay at home. And, we tend to get what we need. What our true calling is. What is meant to be, to make us the best version of ourselves. There’s Someone out there that knows exactly what we need. And, it’s a forever evolving process. It’s never done, thank God. I never, in a million years, imagined myself as a stay-at-home Mom. And, quite frankly, I wasn’t very good at it in that first year. The infant stage wasn’t exactly my favorite. But, I honed skills and developed character that I had previously lacked. And still struggle with. Like patience. And empathy. I was delivered a gift, in the form of my son, that acts like a mirror. It allows me to see into my true character, if I so choose. Magnifies the best and the worst. To the point that I can’t deny it. To the point that I have to decide whether I want to do something with this mirror image, or ignore what I’ve been shown. Whether it be to use these newly unearthed talents to make my mark (however big or small) on the world, or to stop myself from allowing my revealed character flaws to stifle my growth in relationships and beyond.
So, my journey, thus far, has been fruitful, I think. I have been blessed in so many ways. And, I think those blessings come naturally when we don’t fight what comes our way. But, embrace it for what it is. And learn from it. Even if we fall flat on our faces.
Hey – I just realized – it’s the future and I’m sitting here writing about my best friend from high school and her exciting life as a dancer – maybe I’m not that far off the mark, after all!