The Next Chapter
My younger child is approaching a Potty Training Boot Camp in next few days. My older child is playing on the playground at the elementary school behind my house, starting his second week of kindergarten. Tomorrow I am meeting with a professor in the Women and Gender Studies department at ASU, to see about which class to take this semester. I came home yesterday from a Phoenix Youth at Risk training weekend, where we worked on our curriculum for the coming year and how we want to grow our leadership team. Whew!
During the training this weekend we wrote individual scripts for how to do a project, or how to do the forgiveness process, or how to apply a distinction we learn at camp. I was struck by my choice of projects over the last year, especially their progression to the present. I have had a banishing ceremony, I have healed the pain of abuse in my relationships with both parents through the forgiveness process, and I have truly let go of the past to where some pain I have always known has slipped away. Now I am working on personal health by committing to the GAPS diet, barefoot running, yoga and mindfulness.
The progression of my projects over the last year is perfect the way it is. It had to come before where I am now. But there’s no hiding it now: I have done the personal work and it’s time for more. I want to go back to school and have my own fully developed career path. This step scares me to death and energizes me like nothing else!
Last year I finally said the words “my career” in my head. The next obvious questions were: okay, now what do I really want to do? what do I love? what could I be happy doing every day, for me? Jessawhy wrote a post several days ago about returning to school on one of many different different career paths. I have been thinking seriously about going back to school for about 6 months now. The fall kept looming, and I kept making empty promises to myself about how I should take a class this semester. I’m chicken. I know that I need to make a project around my career, but I have been too scared.
During my undergrad at BYU I was all over the map. I started out as a civil engineer, then moving from microbiology to psychology to dance to modern dance. I ended up with a degree in Modern Dance and a minor in Psychology. I met my husband towards the end of my BYU time, abandoning my planned master’s program in Modern Dance in New York or ASU or somewhere outside of Utah, in order to support him as he took the LSAT and went to law school. I wasn’t coerced, and he wasn’t demanding. I chose to give that up. I was just following the script I knew: if I find a husband I can stop school and become a wife and a mother, if I don’t find a husband then I will keep going to school.
When I say that I want a fully-realized career path what I mean is that my career path is completely valid now. I get to have a career because I want it. And that’s all. I don’t get to have a career in spite of my kids or in spite of my husband’s career. That sets my career up to be against my family members. My career is about what I love to do, and my family is who I love. How could they be at odds? My career is all mine, because it is my responsibility. But it is also for my family.
I used to put qualifiers onto any job I would have in my hypothetical future. I would find a job that I could do part time during school hours, that I could get the summer off for my kids, that I would work it into the existing structure of my husband’s career and my children’s needs. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much power I was giving away to the way I thought it had to be.
This semester when I go to class, when I study, when I do my homework: it will be for me. I can support my family better by being a full person myself. Then I am a better mother and wife because I am complete. I can contribute to our financial stability. I can contribute by honoring my needs and being emotionally fulfilled. I can be an example of an empowered, educated woman to my children. Being authentic can never be wrong or bad. It can only be about the truth and what must be. I’m happy that I have found that in my life.