The Good Kind of Dorky

 

Monday, February 26, 2007

Letting Go

This stage of adulthood is funny. As I was growing up I created, in my mind, how I thought my life would be. When I was 12 I thought being 16 would be the greatest year ever. I thought I would have so much independence. I'd get a car (I'm not sure with what money) and I'd drive around all night with my friends, go to parties and, most importantly, I'd have a boyfriend. I would have a boyfriend who would pick me up in his red convertible. It would all go down, coincidentally, like it did in the movie Sixteen Candles. For some strange reason I used to tell my friends that when I turned 16 I would get a red lacy bra and matching panties (cringe, I hate the word "panties"). I'm really not sure where this one came from. Perhaps it was in one of the romance novels we would read at slumber parties--you know, and skip to the steamy sex scenes which probably weren't all that steamy, but at the time were like hardcore porn. Oh yes, 16 would be wonderful. In this delusional world, where apparently parents and rules did not exist, I would be queen. At 16 I'd really be living life! At age 12 all I could think about was the day I turned 16. It was also at age 12 that I told my dad I would remain a virgin until I was married. He laughed at me. I didn't understand why. He told me I should put it in writing. I never did put it in writing. Good thing.

Well 16 came and went and strangely it was nothing like I expected. I did have a boyfriend, but he didn't have a car and I only had a learner's permit so we had to rely on parents for transportation. Then I cheated on that dude with a guy who was a year older and had a car. That lasted, oooh, a good 4 months. I wasn't exactly the life of the party. What party? I went to a private school with other good kids like me who cared about school . Okay, I was a year off because the boyfriends and parties (pretty much just the one after prom) came at 17 and I could have had a red lacy bra if I wanted to, but I don't think I did. I did have a really sexy 11:30 curfew and matching parents who actually still cared.

In high school I visited Boston on a handful of occasions. I loved Boston. I still do. It's a great city with many fun things to do. At 18 I told myself that Boston is where I wanted to be after college. I told myself this for years. I also told myself that I wanted a Jetta, my (slightly more realistic) dream car. Have you ever told youself something over and over again and then continued to believe it, years later, no hesitations, no questions asked? It wasn't until about a year after I moved to Richmond that I realized that maybe I didn't want to live in Boston anymore. I had just repeated it to myself so many times that I still believed it, even when it was no longer true. Realizing that what I thought I wanted wasn't what I actually wanted anymore was a strange realization. It felt like I was giving up on a dream. What really happened was that my dream changed and if I don't ever live in Boston, that's okay. However, I still want that Jetta. I drive a Jeep, but I could so go for a Jetta right about now.

Another big one is the marriage and kids deal. I grew up playing games about weddings and stuffing baby dolls under my shirt and pretending to give birth. My mom stayed at home with my sister and me and it was always what I was sure I wanted. Edgar and I have actually had serious arguments about this. I fought so hard to hypothetically stay home and not work once I have my hypothetical babies. Ironically, when I was in college studying, I wasn't thinking "this is pointless, I'm just going to be a stay at home mom." There is nothing wrong with being a SAHM, it's just not what I was thinking about while writing essays to complete my Women's Studies minor.

The real-life argument about hypothetical babies always ends with Edgar saying, "Yes, if we can afford it then perhaps you can stay at home." Damn it! This has been my dream. This is what I've always wanted and you are going to deny me that?! You are going to deny me the right to have you work and make enough money so I can stay home with the spawns of our loins?

I've been working in fund raising for just over 2 years now. I like my job, but even more, I like where my career is heading. I like that I am on my way to having a career. Just a few weeks ago it hit me--I want a career. I want kids, but also, I want to work. I don't know if I want to be a stay at home mom. If it happens and if it's what I want at the time, I will consider myself blessed. I realized (and am still in the awkward life realization process over this one as we speak) that if I have kids and also work, I will be okay with that. Edgar hasn't talked me into it either. I don't want to give you that impression. We haven't even talked about it for a long time. I have just had this strange feeling lately that maybe being a SAHM isn't for me. The thing is, I know this could change. Most importantly, I'm starting to understand that it's okay to change my mind. I don't have to have so many "be all, end alls." No one is going to look down on me if I change my mind. Instead, maybe I should focus on making the best of what my life has to offer. I'm not saying don't have dreams, just exercise self-awareness.

Sometimes it is hard to know what I truly want and what is just a culmination of expectations held close to the heart for too many years. Maybe it's okay if my dreams flip-flop, morph, change and in some cases disappear. Sometimes it's more of a let down to hold onto these old dreams rather than letting new ones evolve.

The hard part is knowing when to let go.

10 Comments:

  • At 4:49 AM, Anonymous alyndabear said…

    What I want changes all the time and leaves me bloody confused!! So I feel for you on this one. I suppose whatever happens, happens for a reason.. but for now, just keep on doing what feels right for you and worry about the rest when the time comes! *hugs*

     
  • At 7:12 AM, Blogger Erika said…

    I had a little "senior scrapbook" that came with our high school graduation announcements, and there was a page for "goals for the future". I'm nothing if not thorough. I think some of my goals were to have a house with a garbage disposal and a laundry chute. You're so right, how strange it is that we hold this expectation in our minds..."At 25 I will be ______" and then 25 is here and life is nothing like what you thought, but not in a bad way.

     
  • At 9:18 AM, Blogger L Sass said…

    I totally understand how you feel. I also thought 16 was going to be the greatest year--and actually it kind of sucked. I spent the tail end of 15 playing two guys off against each other (in the most-PG teen love triangle that has ever existed) and right around 16 they'd had enough of me--for the time being--and both shunned me. I was left with no boys and no romance! I did have a HOTT grey 1987 Honda Civic, though.

    As for the stay at home debate, I come from the opposite end. I've never questioned that I would continue to work when I had kids. Then when I started dating AS, he would joke that I would be the stable / primary breadwinner (as he is an entrepreneur) and I freaked out! All of a sudden, I realized that I really would like the option, if finances allow, to spend some time at home with the hypothetical children (HypoKids)? Fortunately, AS agrees.

    It's sort of politically weird for me, too, actually. The flexibility of AS's career may mean that it would be easy for him to be a primary caretaker and even stay at home with the kids. In theory, I love this! Sharing responsibility! Hands on fatherhood! Breaking down gender roles! But, in reality, I do not want that. It would make me so, so jealous if I had to work and he got to spend time with the family.

    Whew. That was a long comment.

     
  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Bones said…

    Uh oh.. sounds like someone needs a hug.

    I used to think id live in some warm place, right on the ocean, surfing every day. Now i live in south arlinton - only distinguishable from el salvador by the fact that the tags on the cars all say virginia.

     
  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Aimee said…

    I love this line: "I did have a really sexy 11:30 curfew and matching parents who actually still cared."

    I had that too. Which just meant that all my friends who had crappy parents and no curfew hung out at my house till all hours of the night.

    I'll have to send you an email about this post. It's helped me more than you know.
    ::hugs::

     
  • At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Aimee said…

    oh and yeah, if I knew then what i know now...I'd have been waiting for 14/15. That was the year I was dating the 16 year olds with cars! woot!

     
  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Carrie said…

    I'm glad you did this post. Mostly for you because in another 7 years, you'll look at it and think "what the hell is that all about". We change so much that I don't even think about.

    So Lindsey, just strap that seatbelt on and hang on for the ride that they call life.

    (Also, I had a Jetta and it killed me to get rid of it but it cost me an arm and a leg everytime something needed fixing. Maybe you will have better luck.)

     
  • At 6:41 PM, Blogger Cece said…

    When I was a teenager my dream car was a white, convertable VW Cabrolet. You know, like the girl drove in Can't Buy Me Love, w/McDreamy? Yeah, I drooled over that baby for YEARS. What did I get? A 1980 Toyota Tercel hatchback my mom gave me after she bought herself a brand new Mustang 5.0. Bitch.

    You know I've got kids. You know I work, too. When I'm home for several days w/the kids I go stir crazy! I don't think SAHM is for me, either. Every week my husband plays the Lotto & he teases me & says "Even if I win you're still going to work!" Fine w/me, I can work PT, no biggie.

    SAHM just isn't for everyone & that's ok.

     
  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger Frema said…

    This is a great post. I've had to think a lot about the dreams I have concerning child-rearing as Luke and I talk about buying a house and having babies. Once I realized how badly I wanted kids, I decided I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. This has been true for YEARS, and Luke and I both agreed having a parent at home during our children's early years is important to both of us. But now, as we're only months away from actually buying our house and trying for kids, it looks like Luke might be the one staying at home and I'll be the one working, just because of how our finances worked out. I thought I would be really sad about this, and I am disappointed, but I also realized that there are a lot of things I can do in my career that I'm really excited about. And Luke is excited about (most likely) being the one at home with our baby.

    I think having dreams is important. How else you do have goals? However, it's equally important to be open to the idea of change. Which it sounds like you totally are. Keep on keepin' on, Lindsey!

    P.S. I've always wanted a Jetta, too! Too bad Luke can't fit in one!

     
  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger Lindsey said…

    I just wanted to thank all of you for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I love that some of you are going through the same thing as I am and that others of you are a little older and can give me some great advice. I'm really grateful for the place you all have in my life.

     

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