Friday, December 01, 2006

Finding Myself

I've known a number of women over the years who hit my age, plus or minus five years, and decided to dramatically change their lives. This usually involves jettisoning a husband. One acquaintance even left the kids behind, and ran away to find herself. For some the action isn't as destructive and involves starting a new career or heading back to school.

I've been going through a bit of this reevaluating for the last couple of years. It put me into a funk, finding myself to be a failure by the standards that I had been raised with. I was raised to be a career woman, told repeatedly from the time I was small that I could do anything that I wanted. As a teen I was pushed toward high-earning career options. I earned scholarships and awards. I was on my way.

But instead of going the high-powered career route I married at 21, started having children immediately and spent ten years trying to juggle college and a desire for a career with the realities of motherhood. When I was 31 we began homeschooling, more as a matter of necessity than choice and I was committed to being something I had never dreamed of being: a stay-at-home-mom.

Over the years I've been in and out of home businesses. I've dabbled with my writing. I've done tons of volunteer work. But I've always had in the back of my mind that this is all temporary, until I start doing what I'm really going to do.

I started realizing a couple of years ago that this is my life. There's something about losing a parent and having a child reach young adulthood--not to mention not being able to do cartwheels anymore--that brings home the truth about life progressing.

So I've spent the last couple of years accomplishing very little. I've let my business languish. My house is a wreck. I've written nothing of substance. I've lost touch with old friends. Oh, I've been busy enough. Volunteering is a good way to get out of doing what you need to do at home. No one can criticize you for having a messy house when you are involved in all kinds of stuff.

I finally decided about two months ago that I needed to seriously look at things and figure out what direction my life was taking and was going to take. Don't worry. The husband and kids weren't on the chopping block. Homeschooling was, but only for a brief time. I took a hint from the way my husband does things and I made a spreadsheet of positives and negatives of all kinds of different things. I looked at the impact lots of things have on our family and our life and figured out what was staying and going.

Homeschooling is almost all positive. It stays. My business is all positive except for the stress I feel when I don't work. It stays. For the last couple of months I've been doing less shopping, less dreaming, more cooking, more cleaning, more reading and writing. I've always spent lots of time with my kids. That stays. Going out to lunch with friends once in a while stays.

The main thing that has changed is my attitude. I am actually starting to enjoy the more mundane parts of my life. I'm even going to sit down before the first of the year and get my checkbook balanced. Maybe I've finally grown up.

3 comments:

oratiomom said...

Thanks for the post~ I turned 45 this year and I also went through the "What have I done's" I came to the realization that this is my life. The kids, the hubby, the house, working part time-the whole 'shabang.' I too have some friends who are around my age and have decided to make big life changes- 2 divorces...1 going into debt to go get another degree. I am happy-I guess I have found myself.

Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Jane,

Thanks for writing about this. My upbringing was basically the same, and I've been struggling with all of it myself. LOL...at least you show me there is hope at the end of the tunnel!

KaY said...

I'm so glad that you're coping with this life changing stage ...

hang on ...