Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ready or Not

The last nine months have strung themselves together in new milestones and benchmarks in the story of my life. Even the most ordinary, seemingly uneventful passing of time is still remarkable when we really stop and reflect on our lives. Only the last nine months have been anything but ordinary for us. Another school year is behind me (starting maternity leave this week, returning to work in September). Lina is a full blown toddler now (when did that happen?). We've happily settled into our new home in Queens, and my second pregnancy is in its final days.

Lately I look at my life and am amazed at how off course I've veered from the original path I had set for myself following college. I moved to New York with the plan of becoming an accomplished writer at some renowned magazine or another. However, after spending some time in the publishing world, I eventually learned that it was nothing at all like I thought it would be. The money was terrible and the editorial work was ungratifying to say the least. Instead, I waited tables and freelanced for a few years until I could figure out what it was I actually wanted to do with my life. Even then, it was never really all that clear. But through this hazy, ambiguous time in my life when I felt like all I was ever doing was searching (for purpose, for meaning, for validation) there was always one thing that was crystal clear: I was in love with Mike. I was content and deeply happy knowing that over the years, this truth had never changed. Knowing that marriage was in my near future was never a wavering issue clouded with doubt or uncertainty (like so much else in my life at the time). On the contrary, promising to stay with Mike forever was an easy, effortless decision that always seemed so clear as day to me.

But the thought of starting a family had always felt very far down the road--and oh so grown up. Having kids was something adults did, not love struck twenty-somethings who lived in shoeboxes in Manhattan and lacked health insurance or "real jobs." But what's that saying? God doesn't care about your plans? Or something along those lines... either way, I couldn't be more grateful that my life has diverged onto an entirely different road from what I had intended. After years of feeling professionally unsure and confused, I've finally figured out a monumental truth that I wish someone would have told me a long time ago: that none of it really matters. At least for me. Don't get me wrong, I have a career now that I care about and that means a lot to me. But it is not my life. It took me a long time to understand that my career wasn't going to be the definitive factor in determining my identify. Becoming a mother by surprise changed everything. It was as if this giant light bulb went off over my head and I said to myself, "Oh, so THIS is what life is all about. What the hell was I stressing over? THIS is life. THIS is what's defining me and my journey." Having Lina suddenly made my whole life make sense, and I now understand how strongly I connect being a mother to my own identity.

And here we are again, about to add baby #2 into the mix, expanding our family once more, going even further down a road I didn't know I would be traveling on so soon. But I trust that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be right now and that this child will continue to change my life in the most wonderful of ways.

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