So, my newest blogging friend prompted me to think back on my own expectations and how real life stacked up. Interestingly, I sort of fell into my adult life without much of a plan. Interesting because today I tend to be a person who envisions an end point, maps out the steps, and makes it happen. In my early adult years I was quite different. I was overwhelmed by the possibilities of life and frightened of picking something to do because it meant ruling out something else. And what if I failed? I studied Natural Science at college because it was general enough to include all sorts of interesting things. As my senior year approached, I began to panic because it appeared there were no jobs available out there in “The Real World” for someone who had not narrowed their focus into an employable vocation. The university world of never ending possibilities was coming to a close and it was terrifying.
I nervously looked over the majors that I could still complete by the end of my four years and picked Microbiology. My roommate had studied it and it sounded employable. I did not love microbes. Memorizing all their names and life cycles was boring and senseless, but it seemed to me it was a test of my resolve. If I could get it done, everything would work out. I really just wanted a degree by the end of the school year so I could marry my fiancee and get on with the next stage of life.
To my surprise, the only job postings I could find for Microbiologists involved drawing blood from hospital patients. To a person who fainted at the mere idea of a needle sliding into my arm, this would be pure hell. I did not love the field enough to go on for a masters or doctorate, so I needed help, fast!
Those first few years were tough. I worked a few jobs in chemical labs and assisting scientists with their experiments, and learned that I did not like the idea of long-term exposure to radiation, acid holes in my clothes, and cruelty to little animals. I felt insecure and betrayed by the promise of a bright future by doing well in school. Then I got pregnant.
Motherhood changed everything. It hit the pause button in my life and gave me a valid reason to drop out of the working world and rethink things. I got time to learn how to be a mother without someone watching over my shoulder and found out how fun and rewarding it was. I went back to the local university part time to keep my brain in gear and was validated to once again receive a grade to prove to myself that I was still good at school. I knew there was an expiration date on this sabbatical, and when I had a 4 year old and 2 year old at home I graduated again and my time was up.
To be continued…