Category Archives: whats next

Happiness

Happiness 1

I am not quite sure what shifted in my life over the past few months, but I can feel it.  I am happier than I have been in years.  It makes no sense on the surface.  This summer, quite frankly, I was miserable beyond words, and now, I am far from it.

Nothing major changed.  I am still single (more on that later), I am only slightly closer to starting the family I so desperately want, and my dad still hasn’t fully retired from the canoe livery.  My teaching career is not yet off the ground, and I am not yet a published author.  It just doesn’t matter that much anymore.  I am working toward the items I listed above, with one notable exception:  a relationship.

In fact, finally letting go of the idea that I should be in a relationship may be responsible for my new-found happiness – and my renewed focus.  After finally fully addressing my feelings for one man in particular and letting him know exactly how I feel (it wasn’t going to work), I just didn’t care anymore.

It isn’t that I am completely giving up on the idea of ever being in a relationship.  No, it is more than that.  Maybe I am finally learning that there is nothing stopping me from what I want out of life.  I know what it is like to be in an awful relationship, how destructive it can be, and how it can slowly erode over time without one even realizing it until it is far too late.  I also know what it is like to continually wonder if you should let your true feelings be known.  In this case, this person’s friendship meant so much to me that I did not want to jeopardize it.  That is what I feared most:  that he would no longer be a part of my life.

For the first time in 15 years – actually, most of my adult life – I am not in a relationship nor do I necessarily want to be in one.  There is no one in my life I would like to date, and I am fine with it.  Finally.

So far, my little “yes” experiment has been a success.  You can read more about it here.  There is so much to do and so little time.

Happiness 2

Saying Yes

great things

Over the last few years, many plans I made did not come to pass.  For example, last year I didn’t attend the annual Mid-Michigan Writers’ retreat.  I made a point to do so this year.  Last year, when a good friend moved to nearby Gladwin, I suggested we meet up and spend some time in her new town.  A year later, we finally did just that.  I need to do … more.  More of what makes me happy, more of what matters.  A little over a week ago, I made last minute plans to spend the weekend with my mom, aunt,  and my sister and her family to attend a memorial service for one of my great uncles.  I ended up getting to see members of my family that I haven’t seen in years.  I made wonderful memories with my sister, aunt, mom, and nephews. What if I had missed that?  It made me realize that I need to make time for the people that matter in my life.

Every year, I seem to get into the Christmas spirit later and later.  If I am honest, I tend to get depressed right before Christmas.  It always seems to be a combination of things, including the fact that my birthday is the week before.  No matter how hard I try, I tend to fall into a funk.  It is overwhelming, it is emotional, and it tends to highlight just how vastly different my life is from everyone else’s in my family.  The thing is, somehow, I tend to snap out it once the festivities get going around December 23rd.  I am convinced the antidote is simply more:  plan more time with family, start new traditions, get an earlier start on decorations, maybe bake (I can’t believe I just wrote that).  Do it all.

None of this, of course, is an original idea.  Heck, there is an entire book called Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (yes, that Shonda Rhimes) that describes what can happen to your life by embracing this idea.  I haven’t read it yet, but I will soon.  I am already taking the idea to heart.  We will see where it goes!  There are many possibilities and many events on the horizon.  Stay tuned!

Saying No

To Love Again

Grandma and me – Michigan State University – 2001

Somewhere along the line, I lost my love of life.  When I think back to the young woman I was during my years at Michigan State, I can’t help but wonder what happened.  I was always planning a new adventure, whether another study abroad program, participating in Alternative Spring Break, or internship/co-op opportunities, not to mention various part-time positions (paid and unpaid) I held while on campus, among many other experiences.  No, I am not that young anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go after what I want out of life.

 

Unfortunately, over the last decade or so, I began to doubt myself and question everything.  It no longer matters how or why, what matters now is that I get back to pursuing what I love.  Now, I must figure out precisely what that looks like.  There is so much work to do.

A couple of weeks ago, my aunt, my mom, and I went through several drawers of my grandmother’s memorabilia – family photographs, cards, letters, newspaper clippings, and more.  One thing stood out above everything else:  Grandma lived her life to the fullest, even in the face of tragedy.  How I wish I could talk to her now.  Today is the first anniversary of her death.  Tomorrow would mark her 93rd birthday.  There is so much I wish I could ask her.

When I think of all the legacies left behind, it is her love of life that stays with me the most.  She did exactly what she wanted to do and how she wanted to do it.  My dad, her youngest son, did the same.  Both passed that on to me.  I am just as stubborn as well.  Now to figure out what’s next.  I am far from where I was five years ago, but I am not yet where I need to be.

May

relax

Call it a casualty of having an overly full life, but I have no idea what happened to May.  It began with a quick getaway with my Mom and the end of one of the most trying semesters of my college career, Mother’s Day brought new hope and renewed faith, and Memorial Day signaled the unofficial start of my summer life.  I’ve wanted to write a post about motherhood and Mother’s Day for close to a month, and frankly, I doubt I can do my feelings justice.

Something felt different about Mother’s Day this year.  Even though in recent years I’ve been fortunate to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom and Grandma(s), the very thought of Mother’s Day was enough to make me break out in hives.  When I worked in retail, I had to keep my composure as customer after customer wished me a “Happy Mother’s Day!”  They all meant well, but they also had no idea how those words stung.  The first thing I remember wanting out of life – to be a mom – eluded me and continues to elude me, at least for now.  Even though I knew that I wanted to adopt in the future, I saw no way to do so.  Fortunately, I changed the circumstances of my life.

That is why this Mother’s Day felt so different.  There is nothing standing in my way now.  Winter semester 2016, now in the books, marked the last traditional semester of my teacher certification program, my second college career.  After completing my last class at the end of this month, only student teaching and extensive testing stand between me and my first teaching position.  I will finally be in a position to adopt and create a family of my own.  The sense of purpose – and peace – I have in my life now shapes everything I do and my future.  I know that I’ve talked about this before, but I did not expect to feel this way so soon.  I haven’t even taken classes to become a foster parent yet.  Above all, I needed to trust that I will make it happen.  I love knowing that it is now all up to me.

Russells7

Not My Mother’s Life

JK-Rowling-Quotes-Images-Wallpapers-Pictures-Photos

Getting Married is Not An Accomplishment – Natalie Brooke – Huffington Post

As my last semester as an undergrad comes to a close (student teaching not withstanding), I can’t help but wonder what my future will bring.  I finally came to the conclusion that I will have to create my own path.  There is no template in my family for what I am about to do.  My mother, and my grandmothers and great-grandmothers before her, married by age 21 and became a mother by age 24.  I do not know what single-parenthood looks like on a daily basis.  Am I confident that I can handle being a single mother?  Yes.  Is that what I intended for my life?  No.

Add in the process of becoming a foster parent and then adoption, and I am clearly in uncharted territory.  Fortunately, I’ve been preparing for this most of my life, and I am fortunate to know several people who have adopted and served as foster parents over the years.  I have resources.  Add in the fact that most of my family lives nearby, and I know that I can do this.  I also have a wonderful group of women with Turner Syndrome that I can lean on for support too.

In fact, a comment by a fellow woman with Turner Syndrome really made me think.  Her statement summarizes what I’ve been feeling for much of my teenage years and then my adult life and nails it.

“What feels lacking is the status given to women for their fertility – and precious little else.  I think we are in the *perfect* position to blow that ideology back to where it came from and help people learn of different ways to make a family and make a life.”

Unless you’ve lived through infertility, I don’t think people recognize the extent to which women are still valued for their fertility.  That brings me to the article above.  As a society, we celebrate marriages and births.  Women are still largely defined through family and marriage.  While privately our family and friends might celebrate our academic and career accomplishments, they are not celebrated in the same way in our society.  Why not?  Who says that one has to marry to create a family?  That may be ideal, but it just might not work for everyone.

Why should I wait until I meet the right man before I pursue my dream of having a family of my own?  I already spent ten years with someone who was not right for me in the hopes that we would get married and start a family.  It turns out that he did want a family, just not with me.  As difficult as those lessons were, I am much stronger for it.  After letting go of that relationship, I was finally free to start pursuing my dreams again.  It wasn’t that my ex prevented me for pursuing them.  Instead I found myself holding back until the timing was “right” and focusing on “us” when there never truly was an “us,” at least not as how I perceived it should be.

Frankly, I would love to meet the right man, someone with whom I can share my life.  If it doesn’t happen, it isn’t the end of the world.  As I go through the process of becoming a foster parent and adopting, I am going to focus on myself and what I want out of life.  I am in a position to create the life that I want.  I might as well make the most of it.

quote jk rowling

What’s Next? – Part 2

test-quotes-2

Few things are most frustrating than feeling ready to move on to the next chapter of your life, and yet, there are several loose ends to take care of before being able to do so.  That is exactly what I am experiencing at the moment.  I still have to finish up this semester.  There are still plenty of field work experiences, papers to write, and projects left to complete.  I still have one more class to take this spring.  After all of that, I still have student teaching, as well as MTTC and OPI testing to compete.  I know it will all be worth it in the end, but it just seems as though it is taking me longer than necessary.  The problem is that I am, by nature, impatient once I have made up my mind about something.

The funny thing is that I truly believe that my experience going back to school to earn my teaching certificate is training for the adoption process I will begin shortly.  There will be surprises along the way, and endless hoops to jump through, quite possibly for years, but when I think about actually completing the adoption process, I get overwhelmed.  Quite simply, it will be one of the greatest days of my life.

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