As I work through my mental exhaustion, the question that repeats continually in my head is “Where did I go wrong?” I have always been the “on track” kid. I made a life timeline and hit all of my goals relatively on time.
Middle School: Make Honor Roll
High School: Get good grades, make a varsity sports team, get into a good college
College: Choose a challenging major that will convert directly into a career path
Post-Undergrad: Work for 1 year to gain experience, no more no less. Apply to graduate school but not to pursue a more advanced degree in a degree I already have. Pick something new and more lucrative. Maybe find a husband
Graduate School: Kill it. Make good connections. Get a good job
Post Grad: Accept prestigious job
By age 30: Make 6 figures
Age 31: Had 1st baby
Age 33: 2nd baby
Age 35: 3rd baby
Age 35.5: BURNOUT
So now I find myself at the biggest fork in the road I have met to date. Do I suck it up and keep pushing forward professionally as I try to let my personal life settle in to its new normal now that we have three children under five? Do I take a step back professionally and focus on my home life? Do I change professions altogether to make hours more conducive to mothering three small children? I wasn’t prepared for these questions and I sure as hell don’t have the answers.
Maybe I haven’t gone wrong. Maybe this is exactly where I’m meant to be. I’ve proven myself to myself. I CAN do it - I did it. My idea of success as a teenager and young adult is shifting now as a new mom and seasoned professional.
Now it’s time to slow down knowing I don’t need to ask “What if?” I did the “What if” and I succeeded. These new challenges I face are uncomfortable and that proves to me I’m in the right place and on the right path… I’m growing. I’m continuing to follow my gut - it hasn’t let me down yet.
The strangest thing is having everything you ever wanted checked off your childhood “goals” list. What about your adult list? I have been so busy fulfilling the dreams of an eight year old that I haven’t stopped to see myself and check in with thirty five year old me. How is she doing? What does she want? And that’s where the next chapter begins.