Vantage Point: A Lesson in Letting Yourself Down

in case you needed proof…

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.

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One thought on “Vantage Point: A Lesson in Letting Yourself Down

  1. Oh Mandy, I wish I could give you a glimpse of your life in a few years from now. I have been EXACTLY where you are, and felt the same way. All I can say is it will get better. And moreover, I think it is important to let yourself grieve and be sad for the life you thought you were going to live. It’s a real thing and it is hard to readjust–it won’t happen overnight, and I’m not even sure it should. It takes time and the time it takes helps you to plan new goals, based on the new person you are. It’s ok to feel sad once in a while–you don’t always have to be positive! Just know that after you grieve it, change your perspective and keep going. 🙂

    As a sidenote, I, for one, think that being a teacher after you’ve become a mom will make you an even more incredible teacher. I can definitely attest to how it changed Ben…well, except he was a dad, of course. Blessing in disguise??

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