It’s Almost G Day Folks!!
I contemplated long and hard about writing this post. I wasn’t sure if I should be embarrassed…or proud.
I think people tend to be their own worst critics. Course, I don’t believe that about everyone. Browsing through my husband’s Facebook newsfeed, you might actually think otherwise. There’s definitely a good amount of tooting-your-own-horn going on over there. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a Facebook account. Heck if anyone wants to read snarky comments about my life every ten minutes on his or her feed. A few hours of that and I imagine people would start blocking me.
Truthfully, I always feel uncomfortable accepting compliments or praise and it’s a rare occasion I’m not kicking myself for something I wish I did better. It’s a little tiring really, flogging myself all the time. I wonder if it’s a reflection of that infamous Catholic guilt and the six commandments I managed to break before I turned 27. Or maybe it’s because I’m a woman, a working mother who carries that all too familiar affliction of wondering how she can possibly be a good mom if she’s always working, and in my case working and studying. We could even blame it on the 20 years worth of mistakes that have result in much of my life’s self inflicted drama. Mistakes that have served as both heart breaking life lessons and burdens of guilt on my soul. It’s taken me many years to stop playing the “what if” game, many years.
One of my biggest regrets is not finishing college. Foolish me. The years I should have been wrapping up my general ed requirements, I was busy clubbing on Tuesdays, popping out kids like I was allergic to birth control, and helping my husband kick some seriously self destructive habits. When I finally came to my senses I was neck deep in family life and a career that was only supposed to be an interim job. Somewhere along the way, amidst the boys’ football practices, kids’ science projects, my husband’s special events, and weekly staff meetings, I lost sight of what I wanted for myself, separate from who I was as a mother, a wife, and an executive assistant.
So as my oldest son turned 18 and my husband’s business approached it’s 10 year anniversary, I took a good look at my life and realized – crap, in a minute I’d be 42, all my kids would be out of the house, and if we were lucky my husband would be in his 18th year of business, but as for me, well, what would I have really done with my life…for myself? That’s one helluva’ scary thought, to think at such a young age your life’s best years stand to be behind you and not ahead.
So at 34 I went back to school, to finish what I started four kids ago.
Needless to say, t’s been a rough ride. There were dozens of times I had to convince myself that just because it took more than ten minutes to find parking it was NOT a sign from God I was okay to cut class and call it a night. Some weeks it was all I could do but curl up into a ball and cry because there just wasn’t enough time to wrap up my to do list before it renewed itself at midnight with a dozen carryover tasks from the day before. Half of me is thankful for 5 Hour Energy shots. The other half is afraid the FDA will eventually discover the shots contain an illegal stimulant, issue a recall, and then I’ll be panicking over what I subject my health to, all in the name of ten hour study sessions.
Then there were the numerous occasions my neighbors and colleagues, strapped with their MBAs and graduate degrees, innocently inquired on my personal life and what I was going back to school for. Enter the awkward moment I tell them about my kids and that I went back for an undergrad I never finished. They’re busy counting backwards pretending not to be shocked I have a 20 year old and I’m struggling to suppress my urge to scream, “I’m really not as stupid as it sounds! I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!”
I have no idea where I found the energy to study and work, let alone keep up with the kids and my husband. Better believe I did a lot of crying in the car when no one was there to witness my mini mental breakdowns. I spent plenty of my lunch hours writing essays while the sandwich beside me grew stale and many a night I stayed up past 2AM calculating statistical equations. To say I’ve spent the last three years in a constant state of tired is an understatement. I’m exhausted.
But it’s true what they say. Nothing worth having has ever been easy and success really does taste that much sweeter the harder you’ve worked to attain it.
So despite my norm…am I…could I possibly be on the verge of tooting my own horn here? Absolutely not. I’m honking the sh*t out of it. I’ve worked hard, paid my dues, and have the battle scars to prove it. Contrary to what I habitually kick myself for, the last twenty years have not been wasted. I’ve raised four great kids and I’ve been a good wife, a loyal sister and daughter, and a thoughtful friend. Those A’s and B’s were hard earned and my co-workers love and respect me for good reason. I’m slowly learning not to base my self worth on my lowest moments and, more importantly, that there’s no shame in where I’ve been. I’m learning to work on me.
Next Saturday I’m taking a break from beating myself up and over analyzing the errors of my past. I’m going to throw on my cap and gown, and then, if only for just one day, I’m going to revel in what I’ve done well.
Happy (early) graduation day to me. God willing, may this just be the first of two more to come.
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