Sunday, September 28, 2008

Impetus, or, Getting Back to Things

We went to a wedding yesterday evening. It was a lovely ceremony, including an Anglican Mass, which I enjoyed; I'd never celebrated the Eucharist at an Anglican church before. The bride and groom are both friends of mine from undergrad, as were many of the guests. I saw classmates whom I haven't seen in over four years!! It was lovely, and I was very proud, indeed, to show off Glynis.

But - of course there's a but - when everyone would ask "So, what have you been up to?" the only interesting thing I could think of to say was "Baby". I mean, these are all my friends who've finished their undergrads - on time! - and gone on to multiple graduate degrees. One woman made history by being the first person in some 40 years to complete the undergraduate, masters and doctoral level Latin exams at U of T in less than 8 months. Another was a senior federal ethics advisor. Another is a doctoral candidate but recently spent a year teaching at the College of the Humanities where we all first met! Most have travelled the world, and seen and done things of which I can only dream. I've had a baby. I'm proud of her and of myself and of my husband, and am happy with many of the choices we've made, but I cannot help but wonder: what happened? Why did I spend 6 months working in law firms when I had no desire to make a career out of it? Why did I settle for doing administrative monkey work for a half-assed online high school in the sticks for three months? Why have I spent the last year working for a charity, whose policy initiatives I don't even wholly condone, managing a database and printing out form letters?! And why, oh why, did I ever consider going back there after my mat leave is up?!!

I woke up this morning and told The Man: we need to figure out what the hell I am doing with my life. I ended up in tears by the afternoon, not being able to stop thinking about just how bored I was even telling my old and dear friends what a non-starter my life has become. I told The Man, "I'm ashamed of myself. I had all this potential, and I just...wasted it."

So, that's it. I cannot entertain the idea of going back to my job. I can't. It is absolutely imperative that I find another way, another path, or rather, find my way back to the path I was originally on some five or six years ago. We are going to find a way to have me finish my degree, bolster my resume for grad schools, and then look into graduate studies. I'm going to start reconsidering myself. Rather than thinking of myself as a failure, as someone who forgot to finish her degree, abandoning her goals, who is therefore unworthy or unqualified for great things, I will start to think of myself who is on her way toward the place she always belonged. I'm just fortunate enough to have a husband and daughter along with me!

I read Peanut Oh, The Places You'll Go this afternoon; the message was for me, too.

Today is your day!

...Your mountain is waiting.
So...Get on your way!


  1. Don't worry about it. How do I know this? Because I too made it thru 3 years of college and opted to get married and pop out a baby just as my peers were getting their degrees.

    A lot of people thought (and still do) I was nuts to do this. But you know what? School and career will ALWAYS be there, but the chance to have a family? That's fleeting. As I saw it, we have been given X years to have kids. And they're specific ones--so I'd rather suck it up in the shit-jobs that I really don't want to die doing rather than have a job I love but later when I'm older struggle with trying to have kids.

    To each their own obviously, but this has always been my mindset. Now that I'm entering my 30s and those people who thought I was nuts will start having their kids, I'll be getting tentatively ready to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

  2. I don't think mothering a child is a waste of anything. Just because millions of women have done it, too, doesn't make your accomplishment of it any less fantastic.

    There was a book in the day entitled You Can Have It All But Not All At Once. Written by a lawyer that chose to stay home and raise her kids and then went back to her other career.

    To find where you are supposed to go requires going to a few places and seeing if they are your destination or just an interesting place on your journey. Relax, enjoy the adventure of exploring the world available to you.

    Who's gonna have more stories to tell? You or your friend that sat behind the same desk for most of his/her life?

  3. linny8:20 AM

    The grass is always greener... as they say. My single friends have freedom to travel and make their own choices. And most of them would rather be married, perhaps even with children. Married people sometimes long for the freedom of being single and not having to consider anyone else when making decisions.

    Bezzie is right. It's not a matter of either/or... it's just a matter of timing. Now is your time with your beautiful young family. Keep your eyes open for that, it's so fleeting.

    Everything is experience and one day it will all come in handy for what you are meant to do. You *are* on your path, never doubt that.

  4. I have a college degree, and it pales in comparison to the achievement I feel about being a Mom. Put these two things on the sides of a balance scale:

    1. A piece of paper that says you have xyz degree.

    2. A healthy, happy human being.

    Which one do you think makes a bigger difference to the world?

    Uh huh. Thought so!

    Go forth and nurture!



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