I wrote this blog post last week, off and on over a few days while away for work. I wasn't sure I wanted to post as I do that sometime, put down my thoughts but not actually hit the publish button. Today I will. There are a few blogs I read that despite having very little in common, and not quite of the same mindset as myself, I really enjoy Ilona at Life after Money is such a blogger. A young, in all intents and purposes of the word, at heart retiree who live a vibrant life on a tiny budget recently posted about how she created a life for herself, complete with success, failures, relationships and careers had and left, and all the things that happen in between. Her post on Tuesday morning really had me thinking about whether or not I have planned by design the life I have, or just fell into it by happenstance.
It is a big question, and one I spent some time thinking about while I was up in the air a bit later that morning. I know what I have wanted from life has had variation over time, but ultimately the same. I know I wanted to have roots, with an immediate nuclear family of my own, but still be part of a national or even global society. Never in my imagination did I understand how small the world could be with the invention of the Internet and the proliferation of social media. I’ve never lost my hunger for travel, and if there is one regret I have is that DH and I do not make the time or budget priority to do it more often. There’s that whole time-money pendulum that crops up in my posts from time to time. As humans, aren’t we supposed to put both in what we value most?
Getting back to the subject at hand, I never set out to be a career woman in the sense of the type of career I have. It is ironic, or sad, how much my job and career have evolved in my life to define me. A simple twist of fate 26 years ago, when I was planning to get my home licensed to do family child care so I could stay home with my own children while earning some income, changed my path. The county was back logged so far deep that they were not taking new applications. An acquaintance needed temporary help doing parent education while one of her staff was finishing an internship/sabbatical and she knew I was not working that summer. To add to fate, my niece was available as a short term nanny. The stars aligned for me to take the what was supposed to be temporary job, that ended up launching my career. I was very deliberate after that, taking additional training and ultimately going back to school to put me on a management track. Meanwhile, I worked more, took on more stress both in and out of work, and even incredibly hard life things didn’t slow me down, until three years ago when I nearly had a mental health breakdown. Things were better for a while, but I feel myself sliding again, putting demands on myself that are not aligned with what I say are my life priorities.
Here I am then, now on the flight back from a three day conference, having slept poorly as I always do when I am both away from home and my family. It’s a very turbulent flight, having hit a rough patch of weather over Nebraska and Iowa and shifting further west didn’t resolve it completely. We’ve been bumping and shaking for the last 40 minutes. I can’t say I’m not a little nervous. I suppose it is kind of an analogy to my life plan. The pilot planned the route, but due to circumstances presented, he changed courses, but still, hit rough weather. No doubt we will get home unscathed, but all a little more pensive, less likely to take the next smooth flight for granted.
I don’t know where I will be in a year, but I know I don’t want to continue this naval gazing and wondering if I am wasting what should be the fun years in my life. I want to be brave and make specific decisions that will result in more time with family and friends. I need to accept that the best laid plans will not always lead to a smooth route, and learn to just put my faith in myself that I’ll get where I should be regardless. Now to you. Did you create the life you have, or did it happen on auto pilot? Is anyone else wanting to get back to the roots of your hopes and dreams and steer your life on a new course?