Here's the thing...I had a bit of a breakdown on Saturday night (it may have been slightly wine induced to be honest). Nick and I went for a long walk after the wedding we went to, and we talked...a LOT. I was kind of losing it...the stress I've been putting on myself to be perfect was overwhelming...and I realized that a lot of what I'm doing is for OTHER people...not for myself.
Old habits die hard I suppose.
So while I'm sitting there freaking out, I finally said it out loud and caught Nick a bit off guard. I don't WANT to go to grad school. I want to jump into a career that I actually care about and get my hands dirty. If that means I don't make a lot of money, or if I decide to go back to school later...that's all fine. But right now...I've been kicking my own butt to get an education for 7 years. Yes there have been breaks, but it's been hanging over my head for a very long time. No part of me actually wants to go back right now.
Now Nick is always the one pushing me to go for it...and to knock out my schooling. When I don't want to do another semester, he talks about how he won't marry me until I finish. When schoolwork is making me nuts, he reminds me how we will both have awesome degrees soon. He is one of my biggest cheerleaders, as well as the swift kick in the ass when I need it.
But he asked me flat out, if I don't want to go...then why am I?
Well...to please other people.
I have this complex that if I don't "make up" for all the mistakes I made years ago...that people will never be proud. Now I'm more than fully aware that my mother is always proud of me, even when I'm messing things up. I know that my family supports and loves me. But there is just this doubting voice in the back of my head that no matter what I do...it's not going to be good enough.
Worst part? There is still one person in my family that makes me feel like crap about myself. On a regular basis. And although I'm not sure it's intentional...it's hurtful and it brings out every insecurity I have.
I already worry a lot. I worry about proving my father wrong, and proving my mom right. I worry that in the wake of a mom who is unbelievably successful...I may not go far enough. My lowly job helping addicts find employment, or seek treatment...or whatever it is I end up doing...might not be enough.
I'm not going to make much money doing what I want to do. It will be a high stress job with little to no thanks, and a massive failure rate. It will be frustrating...and it will have long strange hours. But it's all I want to do. I can't imagine sitting in an office the rest of my life just hoping I'm able to help someone from a distance. I want...I NEED to get face to face with people and do all I can to support them overcoming their addictions.
So as I'm standing there in the courtyard with Nick...crying and rambling on about how I don't want to go to grad school in the near future...he looks at me simply and just said "Then don't."
How simple those words sound when they're coming from someone else. And what a weight off knowing that the person (other than myself) that the decision will affect most directly...is okay with it. It won't disappoint him or upset him if I don't go. He wants to see me happy...and shocking...is still proud of me for the other things I want to do.
Maybe I'll go back some day. Maybe I won't. The fact is that by the time this degree is finished...I have already done more than a lot of people said I would. I've surpassed some expectations and fallen short of some others.
But newsflash...the only expectations that count for anything are the ones I set for myself.
I have another horrible habit of waiting for my life to start. Oh it'll start when: we get our new house, we have kids, we finish school, we get normal jobs, etc.
And what the hell am I waiting for? My life has not only started...it's gotten amazing. So I need to stop waiting for anything, and enjoy the time I have now.
My expectations at this point are simple:
-finish this degree
-love on my other half, all the time...make sure he always knows he's appreciated and loved
-be the best step mom I can be
-keep my work options open, and always be ready to switch career paths
-write, all the time
As Nick said...if I'm happy and proud of myself...the people that matter will be too.
I've got a lot to learn when it comes to doing what makes me happy instead of what I think will make other people happy. I have the guts to...but sometimes I convince myself that what I want...is what they want.
When in all reality...it rarely is.
There was a time that I did whatever I thought would make me happy...regardless of the consequences...and I can say as a divorcee by 21, it didn't always work out that well. Things are different now, and there's a lot more riding on the decisions that I'm making.
I'm still the same girl though.
If I'm going back to school, it needs to be for me...not because I'm trying to prove something to someone else. Those that love and care, will still be there without grad school.
Right now there's no rush...on anything. Things are happy, busy, and a little crazy. Just the way we like them.