Well 16 came and went and strangely it was nothing like I expected. I did have a boyfriend, but he didn't have a car and I only had a learner's permit so we had to rely on parents for transportation. Then I cheated on that dude with a guy who was a year older and had a car. That lasted, oooh, a good 4 months. I wasn't exactly the life of the party. What party? I went to a private school with other good kids like me who cared about school . Okay, I was a year off because the boyfriends and parties (pretty much just the one after prom) came at 17 and I could have had a red lacy bra if I wanted to, but I don't think I did. I did have a really sexy 11:30 curfew and matching parents who actually still cared.
In high school I visited Boston on a handful of occasions. I loved Boston. I still do. It's a great city with many fun things to do. At 18 I told myself that Boston is where I wanted to be after college. I told myself this for years. I also told myself that I wanted a Jetta, my (slightly more realistic) dream car. Have you ever told youself something over and over again and then continued to believe it, years later, no hesitations, no questions asked? It wasn't until about a year after I moved to Richmond that I realized that maybe I didn't want to live in Boston anymore. I had just repeated it to myself so many times that I still believed it, even when it was no longer true. Realizing that what I thought I wanted wasn't what I actually wanted anymore was a strange realization. It felt like I was giving up on a dream. What really happened was that my dream changed and if I don't ever live in Boston, that's okay. However, I still want that Jetta. I drive a Jeep, but I could so go for a Jetta right about now.
Another big one is the marriage and kids deal. I grew up playing games about weddings and stuffing baby dolls under my shirt and pretending to give birth. My mom stayed at home with my sister and me and it was always what I was sure I wanted. Edgar and I have actually had serious arguments about this. I fought so hard to hypothetically stay home and not work once I have my hypothetical babies. Ironically, when I was in college studying, I wasn't thinking "this is pointless, I'm just going to be a stay at home mom." There is nothing wrong with being a SAHM, it's just not what I was thinking about while writing essays to complete my Women's Studies minor.
The real-life argument about hypothetical babies always ends with Edgar saying, "Yes, if we can afford it then perhaps you can stay at home." Damn it! This has been my dream. This is what I've always wanted and you are going to deny me that?! You are going to deny me the right to have you work and make enough money so I can stay home with the spawns of our loins?
I've been working in fund raising for just over 2 years now. I like my job, but even more, I like where my career is heading. I like that I am on my way to having a career. Just a few weeks ago it hit me--I want a career. I want kids, but also, I want to work. I don't know if I want to be a stay at home mom. If it happens and if it's what I want at the time, I will consider myself blessed. I realized (and am still in the awkward life realization process over this one as we speak) that if I have kids and also work, I will be okay with that. Edgar hasn't talked me into it either. I don't want to give you that impression. We haven't even talked about it for a long time. I have just had this strange feeling lately that maybe being a SAHM isn't for me. The thing is, I know this could change. Most importantly, I'm starting to understand that it's okay to change my mind. I don't have to have so many "be all, end alls." No one is going to look down on me if I change my mind. Instead, maybe I should focus on making the best of what my life has to offer. I'm not saying don't have dreams, just exercise self-awareness.
Sometimes it is hard to know what I truly want and what is just a culmination of expectations held close to the heart for too many years. Maybe it's okay if my dreams flip-flop, morph, change and in some cases disappear. Sometimes it's more of a let down to hold onto these old dreams rather than letting new ones evolve.
The hard part is knowing when to let go.