When I was a young girl and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up; I could rattle off my top three professions I wished to be – An Actress, a Chef… and something else I can no longer recall.
Needless to say, none of those came true. As I grew, the actress dream continued and grew. I was always the dramatic one and once I got to 9th grade I got to have a real part in the school play. More than just an animal or angel in a nativity, the background extra – or a hobgoblin with one line – as I had done through primary school and Junior High.
I got involved in Theatre and Drama classes. I excelled. I was comfortable being someone else. Hiding behind the persona, the mask, of someone else – pretending I wasn’t myself. As I matured I thought that maybe I’d be an actress or maybe I’d do something else with Theatre. Even being a Theatre teacher appealed to me.
I started Gymnasium and went into a Social Science line. I became more interested in other things as well – Linguistics, International Relations, Political Science. I started to look at Universities that offered Theatre as well as Universities that offered the above lines – with Linguistics focused more on Germanic or Scandinavian studies.
In my senior year, I realized that the anxiety I felt before performances, coupled with the exhilaration during and after, may not be worth the actual pursuing of being-an-actress dream.
I enrolled in University, majoring in Theatre and minoring in one of my other interests. After a few weeks I realized I wasn’t happy with my choice of University and dropped out to go back home. It was too late for me to accept a spot at William and Mary (why, oh why did I not accept that offer in the first place? They were my top choice until I was convinced otherwise for the school I had attended) so I went to community college to get basics out of the way with the plan to go back and attend William and Mary later.
Then, I met a boy. Fell in love… all of that. Then this boy got a great opportunity that would take him far away, so he proposed. I said yes. I got married and moved hundreds of miles away. College had to cease for me for financial reasons – I was now only able to do school as an out-of-state student.
It seemed like every time I was finally getting eligible for in-state tuition, we were moving again. After putting college on hold in 2003, I finally got to go back around 2010…. After I had already started having kids.
By this time I realized I had a desire to be a nurse. Now, children, another move, and a couple other choices factored in; I still am not a nurse. I still do not have a bachelor’s degree of any sort. I was able to gain two Associate Degrees – which is better than nothing, and a big accomplishment considering the circumstances in which I earned them (working full time nights, going to school full time, all while have a baby and then a second baby…) I cannot be a nurse anytime in the near future – I simply cannot afford school as an international student in Australia… it’s not the type of degree you can learn online and there is no clear end date for when we’ll live in the US again.
Now it is 2015. It has been 13 years since I graduated high school. I am 32 years old with two small kids. So many of my classmates from Gymnasium are so successful in their fields – engineers, diplomats, business men and women, actresses, artists, financial planners, journalists, nurses, professional academics…. priests.
A wide range of interests, a wide range of success.
I enjoy my current job, I suppose I’d call myself successful in that position… but then again, my contract finishes in November and… there is no clear path after that. I may or may not have another similar position to move into. Whether or not I have another job come November is not what bothers me. What bothers me is that I do not have a minimum of a Bachelors degree (ideally I wanted to eventually gain a Masters.)
I do not have a clear education for a relatively clear career path.
I am so proud of my sister that is now working on her Masters. She has never put boys before education… and she has had some serious relationships. She has had proposals, but has turned them down in favor of finishing her education first. I envy her sometimes. She knew what she wanted and she has been steadily working for it since she graduated High School. She had nothing to tie her down from moving to get her degrees from the schools she wanted them from. She knows what she wants to do with her life.
I do love my kids. I just sometimes wish I wasn’t a mum. Really, actually the age I had them would have been a good one if I had just had my shit together and finished college before getting married – or at least insisted on figuring out a way to pay for it even as out-of-state tuition. I dunno.
I could have been a diplomat. I could have been in International Relations. Honestly – even now I think that life would have suited me. It’s the kind of life I grew up with. It’s “my people.” I could have done something with Nordic Linguistics and been perfectly happy and interested in my work.
I could even have been a nurse already if I had made a few different choices in my education track and/or started earlier.
Hindsight is always 20/20 though.
I’m just so discouraged. At 32 I am still saying “When I grow up I want to be…”