Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Simply Walked Forward

When I was young, planning out my future life, I had big dreams. I wanted it all. I wanted to experience a number of careers, travel around the world, and have an array of differently styled houses. One would be a spacious loft in New York City; another would be a woodsy cabin; yet another would be a beach house at the ocean. I went back and forth between the idea of "going for it" and working to become an actress or a singer, or "playing it safe" and studying law, medicine, or entering some communication field such as advertising, broadcast journalism, or public relations. I played around also with the idea of becoming a writer. The truth is, I did not know how to go about choosing one "future life" over another. I was excited about my future. I was thrilled to have all these different options.

I wanted to go to college. I have always loved school. I love learning new things, being exposed to new ideas, being independent in my own research yet having the courage to look at the world through others' eyes. Having traveled with my parents, I considered going on exchange when I was in college. My family had once hosted a teen from England for a month and I'd heard all of her romantic stories about Oxford. She sent me an Oxford University shirt when she arrived home and that tee shirt was my favorite for decades. All worn and torn it is now, but it still has a spot in one of my drawers.

The summer after my freshman year of college however, I was presented with another dream. My then-boyfriend of several years proposed to me. Again. Wasn't I too young? What about going on exchange? What about becoming an actress in New York City? What did I want? I knew what I wanted most of all. And therefore, to his proposal I said "Yes". You see, even though I had all these various ideas on what I might do with my life, what careers I might want to try for or where I might end up living, the number one dream in my life had always been a rather old-fashioned one. I wanted to fall in love with my best friend, someone who would love me forever, someone who I could grow old with, and I wanted us to raise a family together. Of all the roles I could have played on Broadway (if I'd been so lucky to be thought of as having any real talent), the role I most wanted to play? Mama. I wanted to be the best possible mother I could be.

So, I accepted a marriage proposal at the tender age of 19. I got married four months before my 21st birthday. I finished college at the age of 22 having finally settled in on the idea of majoring in English with a minor in music. I then went to Graduate school and became a high school English teacher. Within four months of starting my first full time teaching job, I became a Mom. Three and a half years later I had our second child. Four and a half years later, I had our third child. And now, at the age of 43 I realize how little I have the core.

I still love to act and sing and I love to write. I make time for those passions of mine. I traded in the idea of having a multitude of houses in different settings to secure a warm comforting home with a babbling brook out front and a community of beautiful people who spread sunshine and who envelop me when I need them. I get to the ocean a few times each year but I don't travel much. Still, my husband and I say our time will come. Right now, I prefer to travel to dance recitals, basketball games, and play performances. I am in a profession which challenges me intellectually and emotionally. Becoming a teacher was never on my radar. I often say I "fell" into the career when, as a favor to one of my husband's coworkers, I accepted a job teaching summer school. It's a difficult career but I've always loved a good challenge. Besides, I truly feel teaching is my "calling".

Sometimes, despite one's plans or initial ideas, life finds you. I absolutely have no regrets. I am still a girl with big dreams. I continue to be excited about my future. The only difference is that now I know for sure what makes me happy. I know that what I want most of all in this world is to be a loving wife and a good Mom. It was never about choosing one life over another. I simply walked forward. I made my dreams come true by being open to what was in front of me, by "going for it" and at the same time, by "playing it safe". My life is just that, my life. And yes, indeed, I have it all.


  1. Anne, how can you have it all? I thought I had it all. ;)

  2. Well said Anne. I couldn't have said it better.