Monday, August 4, 2008

When I grow up...

For the past few months, I have been gearing up for my 20th high school reunion. I have been contemplating losing weight. Did you know that contemplating doesn't appear to burn calories or build muscle? I have been contemplating what to wear. Did you know that contemplating does not equal shopping or trying on? And I have been contemplating the life path that I have chosen - or sometimes just contemplating the life path that I have stumbled, rather ungracefully, upon.

My class has a webpage "thing." Where everyone in the class has a page - we can post pictures of our families, it has a message board, there are forums and discussions, and a place to put your bio. And tell everyone what you have done with your life for the past 20 years. And reading those bios is really what got me to contemplating even more. So many of the women from my class are stay at home moms. And so many of us have advanced degrees. I wonder if any of us would have predicted this? Or that we would be so unabashedly happy doing it?

I have gone through so many phases of "what do I want to be when I grow up." Like most little girls...I wanted to be a ballerina. I have wanted to do hair. Or nails. And for about 5 minutes in 1978, I wanted to be a truck driver. With my best friend who would undoubtedly drive a Camaro.

I wanted to be a teacher. But then my father (who was a teacher) said that there is NO way that I would want to do that. Bureaucracy and paperwork = undesirable. I wanted to be a slut. Becuase, you know, they get to wear lots of make up. I wanted to write books. I wanted to get my MRS. I wanted to be rich. But no where in my dreams and aspirations was the thought of staying at home with my children.

As I got older, I realized I had a knack for languages. I had French in elementary school. In high school, I took 5 years of Latin. AND Four years of Russian. And thought I had found my calling. I wanted to be a translator with the UN. Or major in Political Science. Be a spy for the CIA. Maybe even an assassin.

When I hit college (and not a college as far from home as possible like I wanted - but one practically in my own backyard), all that changed again. It was one class...that I only registered for because the one I wanted was full...and that was all it took to send me down an entirely different path. And then I knew I wanted to get my PhD. Be a professor. Do field work. Research. Write. Publish or perish. Speak at conferences about my findings.

And then. Again. It all changed. All changed with a miracle that was smaller than a grain of rice. A miracle that has since been repeated. One that makes me marvel. Smile. Swell up with pride. And sometimes makes me wonder if assassin might still be a good option.

Never in a million years did I think that I would be a stay at home mom. Or a stay at home mom living in Georgia. Or a homeschooler. Or on the PTA. Or a Latin teacher. Or a blogger.

So. Here I am. Not doing anything remotely close to what I thought I would be doing. But I don't think I could be any happier. Or any more fulfilled. Or anymore at peace with the road I have taken. Or the path I have ungracefully stumbled upon.

What about you? Are you doing now what you thought you would be doing 20 years ago?

post signature

37 comments:

GBK Gwyneth said...

I graduated from high school twenty years ago this summer ...

Thinking back 20 years to what I thought I would do, I am amazed to see that while the path and circumstances are not what I expected, I am just about doing what I thought.

I figured I'd go to college, go to grad school for a masters and then work for IBM using my math degree.

Well, I didn't get a masters, I got a PhD. And now, after working for my nice small company for 11+ years, it appears I am on the verge of becoming an IBMer.

Now, I didn't expect to work part-time from home and homeschool two kids and run a kids' music station and be neighborhood president and live in Georgia (Georgia!) and and and ...

Rhea said...

Nice post! Are you going to your reunion? I love your high school photo!!

I wish contemplating losing weight at least burned SOME calories. hehe

I used to want to be a CIA agent so badly. Have you ever read The Spy Wore Red? Good book and part of a true life series.

I also wanted to be a writer, a mom and a doctor. I still want to be all three. I'm working on it...

scargosun said...

I have 3 more years to figure it out. ;) Actually, our renunion was so pathetic that I seriously doubt I'll even attend the 20th. I am not where I thought I'd be and that's ok. It's the "I know I should be doing something else." stuff that gets to me.

Bobbi said...

Yak! In two more years, I'll have my 30th graduation anniversary. So take advantage of 20 years while you can, because 30 sneaks up on you really quick!

Teri said...

I doubt I will go to my 30th class reunion next year. I see all the people I want to see from then anytime I want to these days. I went to the 10 year reunion and realized that the same people who were super popular back then actually thought they were still super popular 10 years later. Not so much. I was waiting for the cheerleading squad to break out in a cheer. I swear.

Anyway, I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to live in a loft somewhere and make enough money to be comfortable without worrying about bills. I did get to be an artist/photographer for over 20 years. No loft yet, but that may come after I graduate from law school and the kids are off to college. I can honestly say that we have enough to money to pay the bills and feel pretty comfortable. So, I guess I'm doing okay. :-)

Jen E said...

What a great post - I've wanted to be a lot of things "when I grow up" as well, and still do think about all the things I could be doing, but I love motherhood best of all. :)

Shannon said...

Let's see... twenty years ago from today I was 11 years old and getting ready to start junior high (yes, only 11; I was the youngest kid in my class). At that age, I thought I'd be a teacher when I grew up. I kept on thinking that up through my three semesters of college (majoring in Secondary English Education).

Then, I had to do some classroom observation for one of my courses... I sat in a senior high school class not really sure anymore about being a teacher. So after that semester was over, I quit college temporarily. At least, that's what I thought. I just didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do!

So I didn't go back. And its one thing I regret, not having a college education. My hubby says I'll need to go back to work in a few years (my girls will go to college and I hear its expensive!)... the thought scares me! Not about the actual work, but I have no idea what I'll do. Who's going to hire an almost 40 yr old with no degree???

Teri said...

Hey Kat, I gave you an award. Come pick it up! :-)

Heather said...

I've always just kind of known I'd be a stay at home mom...so it sounds so boring but yeah, I'm doing what I thought I'd be doing.

Lula! said...

Ditto to what Heather said. I always knew I'd be a wife and mother. And here I am...happy as a clam.

BUT...
I still wanna produce a film soundtrack one day. I have no idea why Summit Entertainment hasn't called concering the score/soundtrack for "Twilight." Maybe I'll get in on the one for New Moon.

Oh, loved your picuture, too! Are you gonna blog about the reunion?

Elena said...

Weren't you a little cutie? ;) I always wanted to be a stay at home mom and I am very grateful I have the chance to do so. If I wasn't a mom though, I'd be doctor. (Although, I feel like I am a doctor a lot of the time.) I love that you wanted to be a spy.

Mama Dawg said...

Well, 20 years ago, I was 11 and thought I wanted to be a teacher.

As for how my life has ended up, I'm pretty happy with it. I don't like my job, but then again, I don't get fullfillment from my job...I get that from raising my daughter. So, I'm pretty happy.

Rhea said...

I'm with Mama Dawg, btw, I was eleven 20 years ago. hehe

Rhea said...

Like me new profile pictures? I put on my good ole hat and took a bunch of pictures today. Some with funny faces, so I can change my profile some but still have the pink hat on...

Karen said...

Twenty years ago I was a stay at home Mum of 4 kids, involved in PTA and all that other stuff. I had absoloutly no idea that 8 years later I'd be living in the US. That was definitely not on my agenda. I intended eventually going back to school and finishing my degree.

Oh well, nothing like a little excitement :-)

Beckynsc said...

You know, I have never decided on what I want to be when I grow up. Kinda just went with the flow. Now that I'm older, I still don't know what I'd like to do. Maybe someday something will jump up and get my attention. But until then I'm still going with the flow.

Joye said...

Nice pic! Ever since kindergarten I wanted to be a teacher but nw I am wondering about teaching teachers on a college level. That may be fun! I laughed at the slut dream. I didn't know where that was going! hahaha

Joye said...

Oh yeah! How is Breaking Dawn? I know you stopped reading Octavian Nothing for that!

John Deere Mom said...

20 years ago I was 11 and thought I was going to be a lawyer living in NYC driving a Lamborghini with a vanity license plante. Today? I am a teacher living on a farm driving a small SUV. Hmmm. I wonder if anyone actually does what they think they're going to do growing up. I think this is a much better life though.
Oh, and it's never too late to be a slut. Trust me. ;)

Kelly said...

I love your list of your early aspirations! Assassin?! I'll be sure not to cross you!
I'm certainly not doing what I thought I would be doing 20 years ago, but that's okay; I'm please with where I am (somedays...)

Insane Mama said...

I wanted to be a truck driver also.
I always wanted to be a mom and write kids stories that would inspire terminally il children like a life after death type of book.

Insane Mama said...

Oh, and thanks for making me a little teray eyed with this post... Don't you know I am PMSing

Brian and Staci said...

Hey Kat! I'm SUCH a loser...I totally just posted a comment for you on another person's blog, oooops! It's over at This is the life if you want to check it out! Anyhoo, I sum it all up by saying, lonnnngg day...but probably not doing what I thought I'd be doing...loved my job as a dental hygienist ( I know, I'm weird!) but didn't realize how much you could love such a little person and how much they'd change your life :) TIRED...gotta run! Love your senior pic :)

Jennifer P. said...

When I was 8, I wanted to be a hotel maid so I could eat all the peppermints they left on people's pillows and swim in the pool whenever I wanted.

When I was 10, I wanted to be Speaker of the House.

When I was 15, I wanted to live in Europe with some foreign man doing some kind of exciting, foreign thing.

When I was 19, I wanted to be a German teacher, or an English teacher in Germany.

When I was 21, I actually became an interior designer and loved it.

Then I had a baby and another and another and another.....and I could have cared less about all the career paths life offered, because I suddenly had a PURPOSE in life. Not a paying job, but the ability to make all the difference in the world in the life of four little souls. I never thought I'd be a stay at home mom, but now I can't imagine being anything else. Even to the point that, in my current circumstance when I NEED to find a means of supplementing my income that has been halfed, I still want to find something to do that will let me stay at home and be mom.

I graduated 15 years ago. Maybe, just maybe, I'll show up at my 20 year reunion ;). But as long as it's nothing like my 10th.

Romi said...

I'm exactly where I thought I would be with a few unexpected twists and turns.

Life has a funny way of taking you down a path you might not have chosen but in the end becomes exactly where you were meant to be.

Angie said...

I love this Elton John song. But I digress. I was 12 years old, 20 years ago. I was OBSESSED with becoming an architect. That's what my dad used to do full time. And I was obsessed with a boy in my 6th grade class, so I'm pretty sure I was planning our wedding. So, no, I'm not anywhere close to where I THOUGHT I would be. Ha ha!

Debbie said...

I don't think I thought about staying home. I wanted to work and have kids, but that was before I actually worked. And my work was all consuming. And it sucked the life out of me. And I hated it. I really don't know how working mother's do it. I, too, feel blessed to be able to stay home. I don't apologize for it, and I have no desire to go back to work. I worked my tail off for 15 years. I paid my dues. Now my job is the most important one of all. Launching my kids lives so that they can be productive citizens one day. Great post and so eloquently written...

Monica said...

I would have never guessed it, or believed it.... Even though I have been struggling with burnout recently, I do enjoy working parttime and being at home with my family and taking care of whatnots.

Brandy said...

20 years ago I was 12, in the 5th grade and I didn't have a clue. I think at that time I still wanted to be a lawyer...LOL!

I was never one of those girls that talked about getting married and to be honest I never thought I would be married, but now I wouldn't have it any other way. He is my soul mate in every way...and I'm really missing him this week.

Jennifer P. said...

Kat,
I just did a post similar to this, and didn't realize I titled it almost the same thing! I gave you some credit down at the bottom! :)

Tiffany said...

Hi Kat,
Just found your blog and what similarities we have! I, too, live in GA (south metro area), my 20 year high school reunion is this month (in Indiana) although I am NOT attending, Darcy also designed my blog AND I'm homeschooling. I was actually at the expo on Saturday a few weeks ago.

I've only recently started blogging but am so glad to have found yours! I look forward to reading future posts.

texcindy said...

Katrinalynn--I know you asked this question becuase you want me to post what I thought I'd be doing now when I was a wee bit 18-year-old roommate and I'm just NOT going to go there publicly and that's final. I am NOT going to post about my dreams of Peace Corps in Africa and changing the world through my martyrdom. nope. my lips are sealed. nice try.
cindysue

only a movie said...

Great post - love the photo and all the reflections. My 20th reunion was 5 years ago - it was interesting. I did some things I thought I would do, although on a far more unconventional path than I thought I would take...

Firefly mom said...

What a great post! Hubby had his 20th reunion last year, and it was amazing to see the dichotomy between those who'd stayed in that rural area, and those who left and went out into the big, wide world. And it was sad to see the ones that were still behaving as if they were in high school (complete with the 3 women who showed up late and drunk, after having been in a bar fight. I kid you not).

What did I think I'd be doing now? I thought I would have done more world travel, thought I would be doing archeological research (tried field work - didn't like it), married with kids. I would never have dreamed in a million years that I would be a stay at home mom who homeschools.

But I wouldn't have it any other way :D

-Bridget said...

Great post! For some reason I was always afraid to look too far out in my future and guess where I would see myself. I think I was afraid I wouldn't like what I'd see. I was afraid I'd be stuck in small town Georgia, in a dead end job in a loveless marriage, making ends meet. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I've seen 50 countries and have a wonderful job and family. I truly feel like I have it all. My high school self can be quite proud of where I ended up.

Tam said...

I like this post. I finally decided to comment on it...after stalking it for a bit. After much Nail biting I decided not to attend my 20th High School Reunion. Which was Last August. My life is not at all how I imagined it. I never dreamed I would end up to a Korean guy who serves our Country. NOPE not were I grew up at REDNECKVILLE big time. My life turned out better than if I stayed in my home town. I have gotten to do more and see more than most of my friends and they do not understand how you can just leave like I did. O well they will see when their kids decide that they need to adventure across state and Country LINES!!!! LOL SO my FAMILY never left VA until the were forced to come visit ME! So no my life is very different than most I imagined.

Tiffany said...

I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was little. Then I wanted to be a corporate lawyer. yawn. Have a poli sci degree. Always thought I would homeschool IF I had children but never thought that I would marry. And have kids. But did both. And here I am. And I couldn't be happier. We could be better off financially since the staying at home thing is strapping BUT I couldn't be happier.