Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fortune Cookie Philosophy

I’ve written and rewritten this blog post five times already. Please try to read between the words and tease out the meaning in the chaotic jumble of my thoughts.

Last week we went to our favorite China Buffet. (GAWSH I love me some China Buffet) And this is what I read after I cracked my cookie:

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I know its so cliché’ but I swear the whole room went silent. Picture the movie scene where the whole room dims and the camera rotates around the actress. Papa and LB were away from the table, so I had a few moments to absorb it. And it hit….HARD.

Now I’m a firm believer in Divine Timing. (Not the whole, “In HIS time” -although I don’t knock that thinking.) I honestly believe that when the student is ready…the teacher will come and the clues will point the way. And I, quite honestly, believe that this is the “sign” I’ve been waiting for.

This whole summer has sped by without me giving much thought to….well…anything. I shut myself up in the house and crafted. I didn’t call my girlfriends. I didn’t go out and socialize. I just obsessively crafted. And yes, I’ve made some wonderful things, but now I see them for what they are. An escape. Crafting was a way of staying outside myself and not answering the big questions that I NEEDED to answer.

I was petrified and didn’t want to face any “growing” type questions. I was real comfortable being a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). And I think the first tardy bell of school was actually a death toll. It marked the end of my identity. I am not a SAHM anymore. Who am I? What am I going to do? How do I go on? Beats me.

One side of me says to get a disposable job so that I can quit (or take off) at the drop of a hat to be home when LB has a day off or Papa wants to take a last minute road trip. I can’t forget that I’m a military spouse. I have, at a minimum, three more moves left. Do I want to start something just to pull up roots in two years?

What a lot of you don’t realize is how unbearably hard it was to move back to the states. I felt so isolated and alone. Even now I don’t want to get close to anybody. I don’t want to have to leave another best friend.

I think something died inside when I had to move away from Jenny. And for the life of me….I don’t know how to fix it. So that side says….”Stay loose, stay mobile.”

The other side of my brain says “Loser, get a REAL job.” And for some strange reason, she sounds an awful lot like my old drill sergeant. The more I fight this voice, the more pathetic I seem to myself. My biggest fear is that I’m going to have to turn my son into a latch-key kid. I’m scared that I won’t be there for the Cub Scout meetings or to explain fractions.

As soon as I entered the sixth grade I became my Mother’s before and after school child care service. My sister was in kindergarten and my brother was in 3rd grade.

I was given such responsibility…and no training. It seems so easy to say “Just watch the kids and make sure they don’t burn down the house.” But it was so much more than that. While other kids were hanging out with friends or (quite honestly) getting into trouble, I was walking my siblings home in order to call my mom at 4pm and verify that we made it home safe. Think back to your teenage years…remember the football games? The cruising around? The afterschool clubs? I don’t.

And I’m very bitter about that. For years I’ve told myself that my Mom was a single parent and couldn’t afford true child care. I’ve belittled myself for being so selfish when I was an answer to her prayers. And now, as a parent myself, I realize just how crucial it is to leave your children with someone who won’t beat them or molest them. But damnit….I can’t swallow this pill. It festers in my gut and won’t dissolve. And I don’t want Littlebear to feel this way. I want him to look back and have the memories of childhood. They are so fleeting and precious.

And THAT is why I resist getting a “real” job. Why I’ve been so adamant about staying home and mooching off Papabear. I want my son to be a kid. And, quite honestly, I want to live my blighted childhood dreams, through him. I may not be able to be a Girl Scout…but I’ll be able to watch his Pack earn their badges. I may not be the star athlete…but I have the makings of an awesome Soccer Mom in me.

LOL Have I belabored that point enough? Yes…even I’m done with it. For the record: My Mom did an awesome job with what she thought she had. I graduated pregnancy-free and without a criminal record. And I doubt I could have done half as well.

So now what? Do I go back to school and finish my degree? My degree in what???? Do I get a degree in something that I know will pay the bills? Or do I answer that famous counselor question: “If you had a million dollars, what would you do?”

Hmmm….What will never go away? Death, Taxes, Sick People, and Kids are pretty constant. Hell no and NO on the first two. I know I don’t do well with sick people (I get way too emotionally involved)…..So do I become someone who wants to work with kids?

What did I want to be growing up? Who did I think had the most glamorous job? Who made a difference in my life? I have the million dollars in my pocket. Who am I?

And the answer that comes screaming out at me is this: A Librarian. (Don’t laugh…remember I’m fragile right now)

But honestly ...Can I be this person? Am I smart enough? How many librarians does this world need? Can I support my family after Papa retires and goes back to school himself? Will I be able to find a job? I KNOW I can find a job in the child care facility. Can I take off when I need to? Will it give me the flexibility to be home at 3pm?

That realization in itself opens a floodgate of questions: Where do I start? Do I get a temp job and do school? Do I focus solely on school? Where do I even start with this?

*Takes a huge, deep breath*

If I’m anything….I’m a Self-Help junkie. I am a sucker for anyone who is willing to help me tame my crazy. And in my wanderings I came across Mark Joyner. Now, I’m not going to give you his whole philosophy…but I am going to share one of his tricks.

He says “Picture yourself in the moment of realizing your goal. The more detailed, the better. How are you dressed? How does it feel? What emotions are going on? Be painfully specific. Now! What were you doing right before this moment? And before that? Work backwards until you are sitting exactly where you are right now. And no, you don’t need to know HOW to do something, just that you need to do it…and an idea of where to start.” (Of course this is all paraphrased. Mark is an amazing motivational speaker and a lot is lacking in this translation *laugh*)

So my goal is this. I’m going to create a backwards plan. Not tonight (it’s one am) but by tomorrow I’m going to have my backwards plan. Monday I’m going to focus on completing step one.

And I’m going to drag you all kicking and screaming through my journey with me.

Ready or not….here I come.

Love, Ang


Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you for taking the first step. If only you had as much confidence in you as I have in you. As we stated on the phone-the fear of the unknown is over rated because you don't know how big or small it is. And, per human nature, we always see it bigger than it is. When we achieve our goals, we look back with pride on how over blown the fear was in the beginning and wonder why we waited so long to start. Love, Dad

Dina said...

I can't beat your Dad's lovely comment. Just remember ... it takes little steps to walk out of that door. OK, I'll let you take a few steps on your own, but then I'll shove you out there ;)

There's nothing wrong with being a librarian, as I've been thinking about being an archivist and using my degree to focus on databases. I'm laughing with you, hon! Great minds ...