Its the year 2011. I am 27 years old. If you looked at me from an intellectual standpoint, you would think I was the CEO of a major organization who helps third world countries develop sustainable resources, or an astronaut working for NASA. I wish.
Its been almost 10 years since I graduated from high school. During my junior and senior years at Arlington High School, I was full of hope. I was almost 18, that magical number that every teenager yearns for. "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last." I was courting many different colleges, all of them out-of-state of course. I dreamed of going to college in a new city and making a great life for myself. Marriage and kids wasn't in the picture, or so I thought. Its funny how life works out. A year and some months after graduation, I found myself married and pregnant, with no immediate plans for college. I had let my best friend in the whole world go off to college in a new city without me. And I moved to a tropical island that I thought would be the start of a new life for myself, but I wasn't too sure.
Long story short, here I am at the age of 27 and the only thing I have to show for it are 7 years of marriage and two kids. I look at people who graduated from high school with me and I see things like engineers, teachers, chefs, film makers, nurses, football players, musicians, financial counselors, naval officers, marines, (did I miss anyone?). In comparison, I feel like a big nobody!
I choose to be a stay-at-home mom (or did the universe choose it for me?). A noble profession? Perhaps. They say the children are our future. I hear stories all the time about mothers who work full time doing what they love and their children are being raised by nannies, and as those children grow they become strangers to their own parents. There are good days and bad days. There are days when I want to hold my children close and I am extremely proud of myself for making the enormous sacrifice to stay at home with my children (and the weak economy has kept me unemployed). Other days, I want to kick myself in the ass for not staying single and living life to the fullest and doing whatever I wanted to do. I would have loved to work for NASA, although now I would be looking for another job. I would have loved to be an archaeologist or a writer, or something that would make me famous. I want to be remembered for something spectacular. "Hey, it's Catherine, remember her? She was the one who discovered that lost tribe in the Andes." Wishful thinking I know, but I still want it.
In an effort to prevent myself from being a total loser, this fall I have plans on enrolling in Respiratory Therapy. Its a 2 year program that could yield 45K a year starting. That would be more money than me or my husband have ever made in one year combined. I think I could live with that. :)