Thursday, March 4, 2010

REFLECTIONS

Call me corny, but I like Taylor Swift. Not all of her songs, but some of them. Yes, I am a 33-year-old who listens to the song, "Fifteen" over and over again, reliving old times in my memory. I know it was a lifetime ago ... but who was that girl, and where did she go? So young, so innocent, so sweet. The entire world was at my feet, and I knew it. Life was a journey just waiting for me to come explore. And I was ready.

I listen to that song, and I realize that I was that girl. I was the girl who dated a senior boy as a freshman, fell in love, and thought he was "the one," even after he graduated and moved away. It took a couple of years to figure out that I had big dreams and big plans, and they didn't involve him. I was college-bound, ambitious, and determined to conquer the world. He symbolized a place in time that I was trying to get away from. It was a typical teenage desire to break out on my own and discover who I was, and there was just no room for him in my idealistic view of what my life was to become. Even when he followed me to college to prove his love, it wasn't enough. I wanted a fresh start to figure out my life and my path and where I was headed. He was like a weight around my ankle, trying to hold me under water, when all I wanted to do was swim away. So swim away I did.

I swam and swam. I swam like an olympian. I proved to myself and to the world that I could do anything I set my mind to do. I had to be the best, do more than anyone else, consistently over-achieve. I put myself through college by working full-time and going to school full-time, still graduating with honors. The typical over-achiever middle child. I had plans to go to grad school, get a PhD, and become a college professor. Then along came a little thing called the "love bug," and I got bit, and hard this time. Ms. Independent didn't have a chance.

I married a man who has just as much drive and ambition (aka stubbornness) as I do. He's a typical over-achiever middle child too. It makes us a power couple, but it's probably difficult to be our children. We raise the bar very high, we expect a lot, and failure is not an option. It will not be OK for them to float through life without a plan, or to choose a career which lands them unemployed and living at home because we encouraged them to "just do something that makes them happy." I want them to be happy, but independent from Mom and Dad.

I am still the ambitious, goal-oriented person I always was. Wife of nearly 11 years, mother of two sons, fervently pursuing a Master's degree in business ... and I have not hung up on the dream of obtaining a PhD someday. I am determined to have it all, and to make it all work. I am stubborn like that. That means when I vowed "forever" to my husband that I meant it, and when I aspire to do something I do it. I'll get there eventually. The trick for me is knowing that I am assertive and borderline abrasive at times, and being careful not to lose sight of what is truly important in life.

I don't miss being fifteen. In my heart, I am still that girl. I still love my life, I still want it all, I still love all the things I did back then ... like music, writing, God, travelling, the man in my life. And these days there are a couple additional little guys in my life that I adore too ... and oh, how I love them.

Life is good.

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