Sunday, February 24, 2013

A ship without a rudder's like a ship without a rudder...

Being a trailblazer can be a headache.

I suppose that in the past, times were simpler, and a person's path was probably quite similar to their parents' or even their grandparents'. Historically, my trajectory as a woman would most likely include (possibly) finishing high school, where I had probably already met the man who would end up being my husband. I would marry young, and start having children fairly quickly. I would live close to where I grew up, unless I married a military man, and then I could be whisked away for a while. At some point, I might contribute to the family with a secretarial job, if I even worked at all.

This is the schema that guided my life growing up. For background: my parents met in high school, married as soon as my mom graduated, and had me seven years later. I grew up having "young" parents. I can remember when my parents became the age I am now, and it freaks me out just a bit. Go back one generation earlier, and I have a grandmother who walked down the isle a few months shy of her fourteenth birthday (something that probably wasn't very uncommon in post-war times in the mountains of Georgia). Go forward a generation, and there is my brother who said "I do" when he was 21 (and on my 29th birthday, nonetheless). At seven years my junior, he has a spouse, three children, and a house; a true adult.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong. And it's me.

At the ripe ol' age of 33, I have yet to be a blushing bride. I do not have kids. I went to college three times (gotta do something, right?). As far as I know, there is not another woman in the history of my family who has been in the same situation (and considering five generations were living when I was a child, I have a pretty decent grip on who's who). If there was a woman who shared my experiences, she is long-gone and forgotten. No one remembers her fondly, and no amazing stories keep her spirit alive - not even as the fun aunt!

I know it is not fair or healthy to compare my experiences to those of my brother, parents, grandparents, or anyone else for that matter. We are all unique snowflakes, and variety is the spice of life! Things are not how I planned, but that doesn't mean I am not doing well in this life. I have friends (even if they are mostly in another time zone), I am relatively healthy, and I have almost-constant access to 80's and 90's pop music.

Sometimes I just wish I could visit my past self and gently advise her that she might not want to put so much stock in things happening the way they did for others, because that would have really helped (and changed) a lot. Instead of being a teacher and librarian (because working in a school was a wise choice for having a family), I might have gone into radio or become a flight attendant. I wouldn't have looked at guys I met in high school and college as potential husbands/fathers of my children, and could have dated like a normal young adult.

At least I know I have kept some therapists fed along the way, so something good came from all of this!


  1. Go into radio. Become a flight attendant. Do the things you want to do. You might even realize that you want to be a teacher/librarian who has cool adventures on the side!