Where’d the Girl I Use to Be Go?

Once upon a time, I was a young, well-rounded girl.  I was confident.  I wasn’t the most beautiful or the skinniest girl in the world, but I was comfortable in my own skin and I was confident in myself.  I was confident in my dreams, in my life choices, in my goals and aspirations.  I knew I was on the right path and I had plans and dreams.

When I was 19, I started attending a university and I began a mini-career in retail while I attended the university inside a children’s speciality toy store.  I worked full time hours, I had an apartment with roommates, and I attended school full time.  I spent many, many day just sitting at Starbucks pondering the world and video games and books.

I still have those books and video games sitting on a bookshelf in my house.  They sit alongside my parenting books and behind photos of my children.

I had this insane plan.  My major was in English, but my concentration (cause English majors are one of the fields that is so large, we have to narrow down what we want to focus our degree on) was in cultural studies.  I loved every single class I took.  Ok, not every class, but almost every class I took that applied to my concentration.  After I graduated, I planned to join the PeaceCorps so I could experience these cultures that fascinated me.  I would be able to improve my spanish I had been drilling in classes for the last 5 years.  I would be able to live a full life and have stories to tell and share.

Then one day, I met my now husband.  And all these plans kind of came crashing down.

You see, you can’t join the PeaceCorps if you have a relationship back home.  They don’t want you to have attachments and reasons to bail on your commitment to them.  But when I met my husband, I just knew.  It was instant.  I fell hard and fast for him and him for me.  I’ve been riding a whirlwind of a different train since that day we crossed paths.

Within a year of being together, he joined the Navy.  A year later, we were engaged.  Then we discovered I was pregnant, so we bumped up the wedding and were married 2 years and 3 months after our first date.  My husband was sent to live in California to be with his ship.  His Mom passed away 2 months after we were married.  We moved me to California 2 months after that.  I gave birth 4 months after that.  My husband deployed 1 month after the birth of our daughter.

By the time I gave birth to my daughter, it was 2009.  Two years after I graduated college.  I would have been finishing up my PeaceCorps contract.  But so much life happened in that time that I couldn’t have planned for, I can’t imagine a what if scenario.

I’m not saying I’m ungrateful for my husband or my children.  They all make my world go round and make my life so much fuller than I could ever imagine.

But the point of all this is, where did I go?  I basically have been holding tightly to this ride for the last 8 years since I met my husband.  I’ve come to the point in my marriage and in my motherhood, that life is slowing down and opening a whole for me to rediscover who I am now.  Where do I go from here?

I’m not the same girl I was in college.  Those dreams still have some hold on me, but I need to reshape them.  I want to write, I want to be a librarian, I want to teach, I want to give back to the world.  I want to be more than just a mother and a wife.  I want to make an impact.  I want to live for something.  I want to be heard.

I just need to figure out how to pull my head out of the clouds and solidify this “wants” I have into a career.  Into something more than just a dream.  I read a quote today that said something to the extent of if you want to change your life, look at your daily routine, the change you need to make is there.

I have some real soul searching to do and for the first time in my life, I need to take life and direct it instead of just holding on and praying I’m not thrown off this wild ride too soon.