Friday, June 14, 2013

It Was All Wrong, But It Was All Right

When I was as tall as my mom’s hip I had life figured out. I was going to grow up and either be a lawyer or a seal trainer. I hadn’t made any firm commitment one way or another, but I was leaning toward the seal trainer. I would make lots of money, sport a very tan and sleek body, and buy my mom anything she wanted… like a hermit crab. Even though my mom never put any sort of crustaceans on her “gotta have it” lists, I was sure she wanted a hermit crab, a hermit crab with a pink shell. 

I was going to fly all over in airplanes and have a closet full of beautiful and bright Esprit outfits. Be the number one trainer or the best lawyer that ever lived. It was a done deal. I knew I would have a successful and fulfilling future. I was 7.5 years old.

Around the time I turned 19 years old I realized that life was not that easy. That success wasn’t just a thought, it would be hard work, dedication, tenacity, and a clear set of goals. It would be long days of college classes, late nights of studying, and the strength to not settle or be complacent.

But, just because you realize something doesn’t mean you DO it.

At the age of 25 I realized that I had settled and been complacent. I wasn’t a seal trainer and I wasn’t a lawyer. I was instead moving out of a failed relationship and into a dinky apartment on the bad side of town. I was working a job making just a tad over minimum wage and the tasks were enormously far from my dream job. I wasn’t successful at all. Nor was I fulfilled.

By 26 years of age I had made some changes and enrolled in community college.  I took only two classes because college scared me. I wasn’t sure I was smart enough.  The grades I received said otherwise.  I started to believe that maybe the A’s on my transcripts meant something. I bottled my fear and kept on going. I took more classes, which turned into earning some degrees, and eventually graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology.

After tackling education I focused on revising my career goals. I crossed off seal trainer and added working with people and being a positive influence. HOW I would work with people and be a positive influence was not yet clear. I tried a few things but over the years what seemed to stick were marketing, photography, community work, and graphic design. All of these provided me the opportunity to meet awesome people, to see positive results, and achieved what I wanted all along; a successful and fulfilling days work.

To this day I think back on how my life would have been had I moved to Hawaii and met up with a pod of seals. Why I still long for the tan and sleek body, I have no regrets. My life is good. It isn’t what I thought it would be, but it’s good.

  • I failed at relationship, but that failure made me really evaluate what I wanted in a partner. Then I met Mr. Mompean and he fit me perfectly. We are fifteen years strong and no end in sight. I hope he agrees.
  • I didn’t go to college right out of high school. But that time made me realize that college and education is an opportunity, not a chore or punishment.
  • I met a man with three kids of his own. Being a step-mom taught me that being a mom isn’t just a title; it is hard work and heart. My bonus kids taught me things that prepared me to be a good mom to Sarah and Elijah.
  • I have a great job. I make more than minimum wage, and I am working every day in every way to do what means the most to me, which is to work with people and be a positive influence.

Life is good.

It isn’t what I thought it would be. It’s a lot harder. It’s a lot messier. AND it is good. It’s all those things. I think it’s good to realize that sometimes things don’t go as planned, sometimes things aren’t easy, but that’s okay. Let’s cut ourselves some slack and recognize that not everything goes the way you thought it would, but it can still end up AMAZING. When we head out for a drive and mistakenly deviate from the course we had mapped out before we even left the driveway - THAT is when we often see the most beautiful landscapes, and interesting scenery. Sometimes it’s fun to get a little off course… and when we are out in the rough we might actually find that we are in the right perfect place after all.

If I DID grow up to train seals I would've taught them to paint
and decorate my whole house with Seal Art!

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