Six months ago, I was on a plane to California for Spring Break, going to the beach, swapping career plans, and drinking Cosmos with my girlfriends.
Six days ago I had a doctor’s appointment, spent 2 hours vacuuming, made two trips to the grocery store, and went to bed at 8:45pm.
I am slowly starting to grasp that I am actually an adult- a wife, a professional, and a mother, transformed within a span of half a year. It has been tough physically and emotionally, but I like to think that I am making the transition okay. Occasionally I will have a moment that smacks me in the face and makes me wonder “what the heck I am doing?”, and it’s always these times that make me ask:
Am I letting myself down?
As a teacher, an oldest child, and a former college RA, I have always felt a responsibility for making people happy. Being in charge of a classroom of kids, driving my siblings to school, or planning events for socially awkward college students- it felt great to know I was doing something useful, something needed. I had made it clear to my boyfriend that my first priority out of college was my classroom- preparing myself to teach in urban schools where kids really needed exceptional teachers. A family would come after I had established a career. I wanted to spend my pocket money on notebooks and learning seminars and fun classroom supplies- now I am spending it on laundry and baby clothes and bills. I am not in the place I thought I would be. The thoughts often lurk into my brain: Am I letting kids down somewhere, kids who needed a good teacher? I wonder if I am letting my parents and siblings down, getting pregnant straight out of college and not using my degree right away. When I see my friends and former co-workers and they ask about the plans I had ranted so excitedly about, I wonder if they are disappointed in me.
I wonder if I am disappointed in myself.
It is at this point when I really have to kick myself, hard, and think about how life is 1% circumstance and 99% perspective. I don’t know who is going around saying that you can plan for life- it simply doesn’t work that way. Sometimes there is no way to control what happens to you- but you can always control how you respond to it, how you pick up and move on from it. I have learned that you can say “My life is ruined” or “My life is different than I thought”- One option gives you a place to sit, the other gives you a place to go. There have been times in my life when I was my only opposition, the only one stopping me from doing what I wanted to do. Really, the secret I have found in my life to being happier is taking charge of my attitude and focusing on what I have, rather than what I could have had. It’s more useful to plan your outlook every day than to plan your schedule. Chances are, if you take a look around, what you have is already more than you would have planned for.