This past week my best friend called me up to tell me her good news. She got the teaching job she had been wanting, at the school she wanted, and she's guaranteed not to have any of the little monsters she had this past semester when she was thrust into a classroom full of troubled 2nd graders half way through January.
I am very happy for her.
We are the same age. Born approximately 3 months apart. She has been working on her degree off and on the entire time we have been good friends (we've known each other since age 15, but didn't really start liking each other until we graduated high school). She is married with 2 kids. And now she has was is essentially her dream job. She has (nearly) everything she has wanted for as long as I've known her. (at least goals-wise - married: check, kids: check, career: check)
Last weekend, as I mentioned, I went to the wedding of my oldest friend. Cherry has her master's degree and is working in her desired field and loves her job with a passion. She recently decided to return to FL from the Chicago area and easily found a job that she is fairly sure she will love. She just got married to a really nice man and they plan to wait a year or so before trying to have children. She had a dream wedding that probably cost more than the down payment we put on our house (which was pretty significant, thanks to a gift from my dad.) She seems sublimely happy. (education: check, career/dream-job: check, married: check).
I have the most wonderful husband in the world. (You may argue, claim that YOUR husband is the best, and I may nod and smile, but I secretly know that mine is the absolute best.) My daughter is beautiful, healthy, entertaining and while she sometimes drives me up a wall, I wouldn't trade her for the world.
But I don't have a job or career that I love. I don't even know what it would be if I were to be given the opportunity to have such a thing. I have an associates degree in graphic design, which I really enjoyed getting, but I haven't used my skills in so long, I'm not sure I'd know how to if you pointed me towards a well-stocked computer and told me to create something lovely.
I wonder sometimes if my life is missing something. The women's lib movement tells us we can have it all - career, family, etc. I don't. I have my family and I love them, but a career? Not even close.
When I was a kid, I imagined myself with a career. For a very long time, I wanted to be a teacher. I was very focused on that. Then I discovered writing (and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and I wanted to be a reporter (or more accurately, Lois Lane). When I discovered during my freshman year that being Lois Lane wasn't even remotely realistic (and why would I want to without Clark Kent, really?) I switched around to other majors and ultimately ended up with Graphic Design. I enjoyed my course work. I enjoyed learning to create pretty things, etc. I had a couple of short-term jobs in the field and then went to work for an advertising agency (which had been my goal in school), but as the Office Manager instead of a designer/ art director.
I always knew I'd end up married, with children. But it was sort of in that "I'm going to be a _________. And of course I'll get married and have kids, too" sort of way.
So sometimes I look at my life and wonder how did I end up here, as a SAH mom? It's not really a bad thing. I love being able to be home with her, not having to deal with my insane boss, etc. But I wonder, am I missing something? Will I look back in 50 years and wonder what became of my life? Or will I know that I was where I was supposed to be all this time.
I often feel as if I'm missing something, but I don't know what. Maybe it's another kid... Maybe it's a chance to socialize and DO something outside my home... Maybe it's the desire to leave a mark on the world somehow... Maybe it's a really fantastic shoe collection...