My family visited my college for a basketball game a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful day filled with excitement and nostalgia. Watching 18 year old kids pass me on the way to the gym, I was struck by the fact that these kids were born the year that I graduated. Except for a bunch of gray hairs, I looked a lot like I did back in my undergrad days as I walked the campus. With 4 kids following me, I proudly wore my college sweatshirt as I pointed out favorite study spots and hangouts. So where has all the time gone?
I'm a wife, mother, homemaker, occasional poet and aspiring writer. But what do I really want to be when I grow up? According to my college adviser, I should have figured this whole life/career path out when I was 18. I envy those kids who seem to have a clear idea of what they want to do with the rest of their lives. As an 18 year old, I think I still had a lot of self-assessment to go through before I committed to a particular path. Loving literature, I chose to be an English major. It may not have been a career motivated decision, but it felt right to me.
I look at my 12 year old son. He is only 6 years away from being 18 and those career questions. I wonder how this kid can be ready to make this decision when he can get all flustered about what sport to play with his friends or what pair of pants to wear. Should we really be expected to be mature enough to decide on a path at an age filled with peer pressure, school anxiety and budding adult maturity?
Now I'm definitely at a "mature" age of 40 and should be able to make this decision. What do I want to be when I grow up? For 12 years, I have readily and happily taken on the role of caretaker and homemaker for my family. I didn't officially put my search for a life/career path on hold. I think life just took over and the time flew by. At this point in my life, I feel ready to tackle that big life decision. I have learned a lot about myself over the past 12 years. With maturity, I can make a more directed and definitive decision about where best to utilize my talents, interests and strengths. I'm in the early stages of this self-discovery. Maybe I'll give myself career brainstorming moments during some of my more tedious tasks, like sorting laundry or organizing toys. I may not be 18 anymore, but I'm ready emotionally and spiritually to take on the task of discovering where I will shine in this world. I always joke that I introduce myself to other parents as so and so's mom. Maybe it's time to make a name for myself : )