I turned forty a few days ago, so I guess that means it's time for my mid-life crisis. Isn't this when I'm supposed to examine my life and go a little nuts? Trouble is, since that's kind of my natural state I'm not sure anyone would notice.
Unfortunately for my family and friends, I haven't freaked out about turning forty (so they don't get the fun of teasing me). I've been seeing white hairs here and there for a few years now. And physically I feel like I'm eighty. I don't understand what the big deal is. I don't understand why I'm supposed to get all worked up about one more day passing, or one more year.
So I can't give you the big meltdown. But I will take this opportunity for the obligatory life examination. What have I done with my life? What happened to my dreams?
I think back and try to remember those dreams I had as a child.
The first thing I remember wanting to do for a living is teach. I wanted to be a teacher. From the time I was young and the first teacher touched my heart and inspired my mind. I wanted to do that. I wanted to open up new possibilities for others. I wanted to touch their hearts. And while I may not have pursued this occupation professionally, I have had many opportunities to teach. I have touched lives and inspired minds. And I have discovered the added benefit that those things go both ways. I can learn and love and be inspired as much as a teacher as when I was as a student.
The next thing I remember wanting to be was a therapist. I'm guessing I was about 12 when I had a vague idea of what this meant. I wanted to help people who were having a difficult time. I wanted to help people make sense of the craziness of this world. I wanted to make people feel better. And while I did not pursue this as a job either, I have had multiple opportunities to do these things for people. And the more I've learned, the more I've grown, the more I've understood that this is just like with teaching. I always get back as much as I give, if not more.
The other profession I considered is lawyer. Now I admit, that's because it was one of two potential professions that my dad said I was allowed to go into. I didn't like needles, so being a doctor didn't have much appeal. But being a lawyer sounded good. In high school and early college, I thought this would be my direction. I could fight for truth and right. I could defend people. And I could argue. Needless to say, I've had these opportunities as well. And a side effect of learning to argue and debate was that I learned to see both sides of an issue. To understand different points of view in a shared experience. This has benefitted me many times in many situations.
But even as I changed my mind again and again about a job, there was one thing that was always there. I always wanted to be a mother. From my earliest memory, it's the strongest desire I've ever had and it's been with me my whole life. And I have been so blessed in this. I have five wonderful children. And they almost always like me. And I have never regretted putting them before everything else I wanted. Not for an instant.
I call my life so far a success. Even with the things that are hard, I am happy. I am content. I am pleased with the direction my life is going.
So where's my sportscar?