The older I get, the more I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. Actually, that’s not quite right. The older I get, the more comfortable I am not doing what everyone else is doing. I spent so much of my time (all 25 years of it; har) trying to fit in, to find my “niche”. But I’m thinking more and more that I simply have to carve out my niche; it’s not out there waiting for me to come fill it.
I was talking to Lucy’s godparents last month about what career I w
anted and when I should pursue it. I’ve always felt like I was in a race; as if I had to do everything RIGHTNOWWITHNOBREAKSDON’TBREATHE. And so I graduated college a semester early, got married young and started having babies young. None of that I regret. It’s just that now I’m in some sort of weird limbo. “I” have become “We” and “we” are now 4 – Ryan, myself, Lucy, and Brooks. And that can get overwhelming and a little frustrating sometimes. So anyway, I was talking to Miguel about the benefits of pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics sooner or later and how to go about that and whether it would ultimately be beneficial to my family and myself or whether it is a purely selfish pursuit. It was a good conversation, filled with great advice. But it was the side conversation, really just a few short sentences from Xhonane afterward that really have stuck with me. Lucy is only 2, Brooks is due in August, Ryan and I have been married for all of 4 years. God only knows where we will be next month, let alone next year. So she took me aside and reminded me that my family is young and I have all the time in the world really. “Why don’t you take this time now, while your children are young, and learn about being a mother and wife. You can read about everything you are interested in right now.” So basically she was saying “slow down. learn your priorities. learn how to live those first, then everything else will follow.” And that’s really stuck with me.
So now I’m reading about Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori. I’m listening to podcasts because I like them, not because I think someone else would approve of them. I’m trying to take time out of my day to intentionally play with Lucy each day. We’re doing storytime once a week. Today we played in the rain. And the more I think about it, the more I think my family doesn’t fit in with a lot of what mainstream and even non-mainstream people think is “normal”. And I don’t want us to. Ryan’s job with Southwest opens so many opportunities to us for travel, just not to popular destinations during peak seasons. Plus we have specific goals for our money right now that will evolve obviously as we reach those goals. On top of that, we don’t know really how many children we will have, though we’ve thought about it a lot. What we want for our family (small home, big city, walkable area and by walkable I mean we can live with one car) it seems like most people don’t want. We just don’t fit in. Before, that would have worried me and I would have tried harder to change us to be more…I don’t know. Acceptable? But now my mantra is lately “You do you. I’ll do me” and BOY is that freeing.
I’ve decided to start a little something called “Free Form Fridays”. The idea is thus: I’m just going to write what I’m thinking, as I’m thinking it. No editing. No worrying about flow or paragraph styling. I always enjoyed this style of essay when we’d read it in school. It was like really delving into the writer’s mind, all the twists and turns and connections that that writer was making but weren’t always or sometimes ever apparent to the reader.