Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When I Grow Up

Ever since I was in High School I had several ideas and thoughts about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

When I grow up, I want to be a musical performer.
When I grow up, I want to be a realtor.
When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.
When I grow up, I want to be an FBI agent.
When I grow up, I want to be a writer.
When I grow up, I want to own my own music academy for kids.

As a 16 year-old preparing for college and filling out forms, I had to choose a major. I knew it had to be a viable one; something I could excel at and something I could actually do. I decided that teaching was something I could do and still have holidays and summers with my future 10 children. (Yes. 10. Once upon a time, I dreamed of having TONS of kids.)

The Plan {Otherwise known as "Plan A"}:
As a sophomore in High School, I had it all worked out. I was going to go off to college for 3 years, majoring in music education. I loved music. I loved teaching (or at least I loved public speaking). I loved conducting (what little I had done for church). Then, when I turned 21, I would take a sabbatical, and go on a mission for my church. I felt this was important and something I had always wanted to do. Then I would come home, and finish my 4th year, followed by a semester of student teaching. It would be during this 4th & 5th year I would search for my future spouse. I would graduate by age 24 and get married sometime around that time as well. I would start having babies right away and I would have 1 child per year (or try), and be done around age 35. I would be teaching high school choir and loving it. In my "spare time" -- y'know, between raising 10 kids and what-not, I would be writing and publishing books, and probably get my real estate license... y'know, to keep my "busy" during the summer.

Yep... that was pretty much the "rough draft" of my plan. But, here is what really happened.

Plan B:
Age 18 I went off to college, majoring in music education. During semester 2, I became engaged. It was a whirlwind and we had only known each other for 6 weeks before becoming engaged. After another 4 weeks, I went back home to work for the summer and did not return until 2 weeks prior to my wedding. (So, yes. We only spent a total of 12 weeks together before getting married.) At 19, I became pregnant ~oops~ about 6 weeks after the wedding and by age 20 had my first child. We moved out of state and went back home so my then newly-graduated spouse could look for work. This was just not happening; it took 10 long months to find something for him; anything. So, instead of going back to school, I took care of baby during the day and went to work at night. I did that for a year, before being offered a promotion that our budget could not refuse. I found a lovely lady right across the street from my work who took my baby in during the day and refused to be paid more than practically nothing. I kept thinking, as soon as we get on our feet, I will go back to school - maybe "next year". Next year turned into 2, and then we moved across country, again for spouse to find a better job. I was 23. 3 months after settling in, I found out I was preggo with #2, and the next year, only 3 months after #2 was born, I went back to work. I worked nights so I didn't have to do day care. That was my life for the next 7 years, and I had baby #3 in there somewhere. Finally at age 30, I left the night job and got my real estate license, because it was doable much faster than going back to school. I did that for a few years and loved it. But, by age 33, I was in the middle of a divorce and the market tanked. I found an office job for the title company next door. I liked the people, and felt I was good at what I was doing. But I didn't love my job. And it wouldn't be something I could raise my family on, on 1 income. I was 34 when my divorce was final. I thought to myself, I could stay with this job, doing this until I retire. Doing this for the next 30 years? OR, I could back to school, maybe finish by the time I am 40, and then do something else I possibly enjoy for 25. When put in that perspective, there was no choice. I knew I would finally be going back to school.

The New Plan B:
So, I was once again faced with the burning question, "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I already had my real estate license. I could check that off my proverbial occupational bucket list. Musical performance might be fun, but let's face it, I am not the cream of the crop there; not realistic. Starting my own business is too risky right now, and I think I may have surpassed my window of opportunity for the FBI. That just leaves, writing and teaching. Since my goal at this point in my life is a steady income with benefits, teaching it is. I am majoring in Music Education with the hopes of teaching High School Choir.

Plan Bb:
I read once that how you label yourself plays a huge part in your own success. For example, if you run often for exercise or even fun, do you consider yourself a "runner"? Or do you think "runners" are only those who run in races, or are sponsored for their sport? If you sew a lot, do you consider yourself a "seamstress"? Or is that title only held for someone who actually gets paid for it. It was a very interesting concept. With that in mind, I decided I am already a writer. I have written several books and stories. I just haven't published them. I "write" several blogs. Yes. I am a writer. I've decided in an effort to get published one day, I am doing a double major. I am also majoring in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing.

I never thought, 20 years ago, sitting in my high school guidance counselor's office, that this is where I'd be today. According to "Plan A", I'd have up to 10 kids, live in the 2 story house with the white-picket fence, going to book signings on the weekends, teaching choir during the week, and married "happily ever after". Funny how things turn out.

There are 3 sayings that come to mind right now. "Sometimes the choices we make are more about the choices we leave behind.", "Patience doesn't mean sitting back and doing nothing."... and... "You can do hard things."

I feel much better about my current circumstance when I think about those three statements. Life is a journey; my journey. I have made choices that brought me here; either the choice to move forward or the choice to leave something behind. Nevertheless, they are my choices. I accept that. I feel empowered to know that I am the one writing my story now, and that although I do not know what my "Happily Ever After" will fully entail, I'm buckled in and plan to have the time of my life doing it!

I am a mother, a student-soon-to-be-teacher, licensed in both real estate and escrow, and I am a writer.


Holli and Billy said...

I think most people's plan 'A' from high school doesn't always pan out. I think a lot of times God has a different plan for us. He knows what direction we need to take to get the best out of life, even if it is a rocky road to get there.

Ruthykins said...

well, compared to you my plans were small town. my plan was to get married right after high school and be bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen. of course i had to go to plan b which only strayed a little off course. i graduated from college with 3 assciates degrees and got married and now have kids. now that i look at it, my life is pretty good.

Charlotte said...

I don't ever remember having a plan A to begin with. I've kinda just let life take me along... I am starting to realize now that I really need to have a plan so that I can make things happen the way I want instead of letting others dictate what happens to me. I'm impressed that you at least always had a plan, even if it didn't work out.

I really liked that cookie said...

I never have a plan that goes more than 2 years into the future... because all the time the plan fails and someting else happens - good things, just different.
I'm 24, and decided I would greaduate at 25 and be married at 21... I am single and just applied for college.
But I believe as long as you are happy right now and do your best. Everything might not turn out as you planned, but it will be okey.

Puphigirl said...

Going back to school is both scary and exhilarating. I found it scary in the sense of where will the money come from, how can I fit it into my schedule. It has been exhilarating to learn new things, and to put my experience to good use.

Cassie the Sassie Lassie said...

It's amazing how fast things can change... Good for you for going back to school!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to be a rock star in high school...And if I couldn't achieve that I was going to marry one...Boy was I off! We are on the same road except I am hoping to teach elementary special education...

Susie said...

I wanted to be on Broadway when I was a kid but, I couldn't handle the rejection so I dated instead. Bad plan...more rejection there:-(

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Good luck! I have about the same story up to the getting divorced part. First date in July married by June the next year, Baby the next April.