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Monday, August 27, 2012

when i grow up...

This is me.
When I was a little 7 year old farm girl I wanted to be three things in life:
1. a veterinarian
2. a teacher
3. a stay-at-home mommy

Rude awakenings when I had to give my lambs shots back in my 4-H days... I practiced on an orange first, and almost passed out.  In general, the sight of blood, barf, guts, inards of any kind, and needles are no-nos for me.  My career ambitions shifted.  But my love of animals endured.  To this day I like my dog more than most people.  And at parties, I'd prefer to be playing with any house animals, rather than making small talk with guests.  Animals and I, we get each other.   There's no judgement.  Just a simple relationship of: scratch my belly and feed me.  And I got that under control!  Heck, on a bad day, I request the same things of my hubby.

As for the teacher thing, I took the off-roading path to get here, but I do, for a living, 40 hours a week work with teens.  I'm not credentialed, so all the teacher types don't consider me a "real" teacher.  It matters not.  I am a teacher of life and leadership.  I work with at-risk youth and their mentors to give them the most important lessons they'll ever need: adult readiness skills.  Here comes the rest of your life... now let's get ready, yo!  It is immeasurably rewarding.  And they teach me infinitely more than I teach them.  But finally, after odd jobs, grunt work, weird career stops and starts, I am here, doing what I love and making a difference in the world, teaching about life!

As for the stay-at-home mommy dream, I guess I'd need a kid first...  And in my head I've run every scenario possible to make that a feasible reality when I do in fact have a kid or two (my hubby wants three children... we need to chat!).  Short of moving to another state or winning the lotto, I think this dream will have to be massaged a bit.  Maybe I'll be a stay-at-home mommy one working day a week... Or maybe I will be a kick butt mommy who handles it all with grace: the cupcakes on birthdays, never missing a volleyball game, always there to listen and work on arts and crafts, all while having a career.  My mom was that kind of a mommy, and she was and is amazing.  Now, as an adult, I can see how hard she and my father worked to pull it all off!  I am so lucky to have had the childhood I did with two loving parents committed to each other and to raising a well-adjusted, contributing member of society.  It's an honor to pay my taxes and vote.  It's an honor to celebrate their anniversary.  It's an honor to be their child.  All that I was privileged with didn't come without sacrifice, though.  And I am fully aware that the hurdles to provide a similar upbringing for my children will seem overwhelming at times.  But I am committed to at least what my parents were so successful at: loving me, supporting me, building me up, pushing me, and growing me.

I'll be 30 soon.  It doesn't scare me.  I remember taking a walk with Hubs a few days before his 30th birthday a few years ago.  He was frustrated that he hadn't done more with his life.  He felt like he should have been further along.  I didn't try to tell him how to feel, but it was ridiculous.  He is amazing!  Grounded in a career he can tolerate and is extremely good at, a college grad, married, a homeowner, daddy to a puppy, a man of integrity and surrounded with loving and supportive family and friends... as far as I'm concerned, he's living the American dream!  So as my 30 birthday approaches, it's got me thinking about the "30 Before 30" list I created around my 29th birthday... lots of stuff still sits unchecked.  And, let's be real, it probably won't get done.  But who cares.  In essence, my 30 year old self wants my 7 year old dreamer self to know a few things:

1. You still love animals, even though you don't doctor them.  Your heart overflows with love and compassion for animals.  And it always will, little farm girl.
2. You did it!  College in 4 years.  The impossible feat!  And you worked hard for it.  Sometimes three jobs, always loans and scholarships. The deans list.  Graduate with honors and distinction. And you overcame some serious challenges.  You did it.  And no one can ever take that from you!
3. You are important.  You make a difference in the world.  You did become a teacher.  You are proud of the work you do.  And you are proud to empower young people.  You matter and you help others feel like they matter too!
4. You've learned to save some of your talents for yourself.  This wasn't an easy lesson to learn, and sometimes you still slip.  But you don't spend your life trying to please everyone and do everything for everyone else.
5. You surround yourself with people of substance.  That's not always been the case.  But you matter enough to yourself that you can draw lines now.  That's awesome!
6. You're not done growing or changing... and you're proud of yourself for that.
7. Sometimes you're too hard on yourself.  Ease up.  You are a good human!

So, bring it on 30!  I can't wait to see what lessons and challenges you have in store for me.  And, sure, I'll work on a few more of the "30 Before 30" list items....!  ;)


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