About a year and a half ago, I read Lisa Montanaro’s blog post, Looking at the Woman You Are Through the Eyes of Your Younger Self. It sparked my interest and I bookmarked it with the intention of leaving a comment after I’d had more time to think about it. Then, not surprisingly, I forgot all about it, until I read my sister’s recent post, “When I’m Sixty Four”.
Both posts compare the writer’s current life with the way she’d imagined it as a teenager, and have inspired me to do a similar reflection.
I assumed I would be married, and I am.
I assumed I would be a home owner, and I was for over 20 years, but not anymore.
When I was much younger than a teenager, I told my sister that I didn’t want children, only grandchildren. Being older and more worldly-wise, she told me it doesn’t work that way, but I’ve proven her wrong. I’ve never had my own children, but have been a stepmother to my husband’s boys since they were little boys. And now they’re grown men with children of their own who call me Grandma (or will, when they learn to talk).
I didn’t have a career goal, but knew I didn’t want to be a secretary, and had no interest in the field of financial services. My first job after graduating university was in financial services, and I left that position to work as a secretary (which was every bit as horrible as I thought it would be).
Although my dad was successfully self-employed from the time I was very young until he retired, I had no interest in having my own business, and felt that my husband should have stable employment as well. It might not have surprised me that I’d start a part-time business just for something to do, but I would never have predicted that my part-time business would later become my full-time career, and that my husband would eventually come and work along with me.
Of course, my current business wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the internet, and the impact it has had on all of our lives is incredible. It’s hard for me to believe that kids who are in high school now have never even known life without the internet or cell phones.
This discussion brings to mind one of the last conversations I had with my mother, shortly before I turned 40. I said that I’d always expected to feel more “grown up” by this stage in my life, and she just laughed, because she felt the same way at 70. Even though we’re constantly learning and growing, I guess deep down inside, we are who we are and that doesn’t change. I’m not sure if that’s reassuring, or scary.
One thing I’m learning as I mature (I refuse to say I’m getting older) is that I have choices, all kinds of them.
This message was reinforced by another blog post I read recently, The One List You Should Get Rid of Today, by Allison Millard (no longer online). Sometimes we can knock ourselves out trying to be the person that others expect us to be – or even that we expect ourselves to be – but we really don’t have to.
Is your life the way you thought it would be?