Monday, January 18, 2010

Bit #47: Finding That Girl~Who Said Choosing a Life Path Would Be Easy?

Little Life Lesson and Bit of Grace 47: Finding That Girl~Choosing a Path Ain't Easy

"Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility." ~Oprah Winfrey

{Editor's Note: Finding the right path in life is tough. It is something that everyone struggles with and even after you make the "choice," you will always wonder. We all have MANY talents and interests and combining what we want to do the MOST with something that will make us money to survive, and something we will enjoy doing for the rest of our lives is tough. Thank you Whitney for your honest thoughts on this process.}

Do you have any idea how I spent my Saturday morning?

If you answered picking out china patterns for my upcoming wedding, would be wrong.
If you answered filling out my baby registry at Target, wrong again.

If you answered holed up in Starbucks thinking about life......ding ding ding ding ding! You win the prize. Except there's not really a prize, but you do get to read this post. Don't all jump up and down at once; please try to control your excitement.

It seems strange, even though it happened to me, to think that at 26 I'm still trying to decide what to be when I grow up. Sure, I've been the career girl. I made my way up the retail ladder faster than you can say "80% mark up." I've been involved with just about every aspect of that particular business - and I was forced to walk away. I don't tell people this story very often because I have a problem appearing weak, but this is an honest blog and I'm a honest person and I want you to have the full story before you begin to judge me:). In January 2008 I got very sick. I, at first, thought nothing of it - I was coming off Christmas and a particularly difficult inventory and I just figured I needed a couple days off. Then came the Friday that I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely lift my head off the pillow. I was in bad shape. I went to the doctor and to make a long story short I was suffering from severe exhaustion, I needed gall bladder surgery and my tumor had grown to almost twice it's previous size because of all the stress I was subjecting my body to, what with working 90 hours a week and all. My doctor strongly advised me to find a new line of work. At first I thought it was insane; my job was my life and it was all I knew how to do. Then he explained that it was like a slow form of suicide for me and so I had to make a decision. Long story short - I walked away. Sure, I was making good money. Sure, I was on the fast track to a corner office in the corporate headquarters of a certain national retailer. But I also had no life outside the store, no time to call my own. I saw my family maybe once every two weeks, my friends even less than that and my apartment walls were the only thing I had to talk to when I got home from the store at 1am. Well, and then there was the whole "slow form of suicide" thing.

This is not a self-loathing post, trust me. I have a point.

So, ever since I walked away I have been thinking seriously about what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I didn't finish college because my chosen career path didn't require one; I had no back up plan because I had no intention of ever leaving retail. Well, I knew I would leave eventually - when I died, most specifically, but nevertheless I had no real idea of what to do. I took the first job I could get my hands on - office and account management and I was good at it, I liked it. But the company I worked for was a small, family owned business where the owner was corrupt and the economy took it by storm. So, I jumped a sinking ship and now I'm a nanny.

It's not that I don't like my job, because I do, but for a few months now(even before the nanny job came along) I've been feeling strange. I don't feel right; I don't feel settled.Back in October, I made the decision to go back to school to be a teacher and I still think I could do that and like it, but what if that's not really what I want to do? What if I want to start my own business? That has always been in the back of my mind. What if I just continue to be a nanny until the children are in college and are looking at me wondering why I'm folding their clothes and making them macaroni and cheese in their dorm room at college?

This brings me back to Starbucks. So, I'm sitting here thinking about my life, contemplating my options when people from both the scenarios I mentioned above walk in the door. One couple had just come from Macy's and they were having a playful argument about the china pattern they had picked out. I listened, amused and jealous all at the same time. A short while later another couple, this time an expectant one and one of their mothers came in and their conversation allowed me to learn that they were headed to Target to register for the upcoming bundle of joy that was about to enter their family. The mother, I presumed the wife's mother, was asserting her opinion much to the chagrin of the husband and once again those feelings of amusement and jealousy collided inside of me.

It forced me to recognize something that I've known deep down for a long time. My feelings of being unsettled and unhappy stem from one thing. My inability to decide what I want to be "when I grow up" come from a place of, in actuality, being perfectly clear with what I want. What I've always wanted to be, more than anything in the entire world, is a wife and mother. And I'm not, in fact, I'm not even close to either of those things. And I would be lying to you if I said that it didn't make me sad, because it does - more sad than anything in my life has ever made me feel. I'm terrified that it will never happen, the one thing I feel called to do might never come to fruition. And it scares the crap out of me. It scares me to say it aloud, to type it in this post, for you to read it.....absolute terror. For so long I lied to myself and to everyone else about it. I was the career girl, I didn't need a husband or children because I was married to my job and the clothes, accessories and home goods were my children. Yeah freaking right. It was all a lie and now that I have no career to be passionate about the facade is all stripped away.

And you know what? I still have to live a life. I still have to be a good person, honorable and pleasing to God. I still have to get up each morning and do whatever it is that I'm doing - and well - because otherwise what kind of a person am I? What kind of person did my parents raise?

For a long time I was angry about walking away from my job. I was pissed(to put it bluntly) that I was, in essence, forced to give up something that I loved. But you know what? I don't feel that way anymore. Because I was in a state of denial, and as much as I love that little town of oblivion it's never good to become a permanent resident. I knew way back then what I really wanted and I was supressing my feelings of inadequecy over not being a wife and mother. And had I not quit retail I would still be in that place, probably worse off than before.

I still don't know what I'm supposed to do with my life without a husband or children, shockingly it's not revealed to you immediately after crossing the border outside the state of denial, but maybe that's what this new year is for - to show me what it is that I'm supposed to be doing. Or maybe not, maybe it's next year. Or the year after that. (Although I hope it's sooner.)

And I'm not going to lie to you, I know it isn't going to be all flowers and rainbows trying to make these kind of discoveries, but at least I'm not living in denial anymore. At least now I'm not lying or pretending to be something I'm not. I'll just say it - I'm a 26 year old single girl working in a dead end job and living in her old room at her parent's house. And you know what? That's just fine for now. And you know why I have to make it fine? Because that's where I am right now. Whether I like it or not that's the place in my life that I've come to at this point and I know that one day I'll understand why everything happened the way that it did and I'll even be grateful for the turns my life has taken. But right now? I'm just going to take it one step at a time.


  1. What a great post! It's so easy to lie to ourselves about what we really want, thanks for being so honest. At the end of the day all you can do it take it one step at a time.

  2. Thank you for being honest Whitney! :)

  3. Love your honesty!

    You did forget to mention that you are the best mommy that Ida Claire could ask for!

    I have faith that you'll find your calling and also that you'll be a wonderful mother some day. Keep on living in the moment!

  4. I love this post was not until I had Derek at age 34, that I realized what I was born to do. I did not get married until 32, met Greg when I was 27, started dating excusively at 28, rough first year but made it through. Before Greg, I worked...always restless, always looking for something better to come did. And it will for you...and you will be so much more appreciative when it does because you did have to wait.....



Thanks so much for stopping by Good Will Grace. We appreciate your thoughts and hope to see you soon.

If you are interested in submitting to Good Will Grace for a future post, please email us.