I’m 28 years old and sometimes, when I think about my life, I’m not where I’m supposed to be.
See, I’m supposed to be an actress—an Emmy award winning actress who moved to Hollywood after high school to pursue my biggest dream. “This me” would have went to countless cold reads and auditions, roomed with four or so other young, ambitious, aspiring actresses, and eaten ramen noodles for weeks on end if that’s what I needed to do until I made it. I’d have landed a recurring role on some big network’s television show and have starred in numerous movies (of course, not before my number of horribly scripted made for TV roles).
If not that, I’m supposed to be a fashion designer. “This me” would also have four or so other aspiring designers as roommates, living the starving artist lifestyle in an apartment in New York City that we all could still barely afford. I’d have auditioned for Project Runway three or four times before I finally got accepted. I’d have come out a winner and established a brand that everyone would know by now. I’d be making loads of money designing and spend most of my time traveling all over the world looking for inspiration for my clothing line.
Actually, I’m supposed to be a teacher right now. “This me” would be getting know my students a little more everyday and learning a lot more about my job and how to become a more effective teacher. I would be spending my days leading Lucy Calkin’s readers’ and writers’ workshops and developing questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy or Wiggins’ Understanding by Design. In my spare time, I’d be scavenging for deals on school and crafting supplies and spend hours upon hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration for lesson plans and reading nooks.
I’m 28. I’m supposed to own a house and a have career. I’m supposed to have a nice car, maybe even a mini van. I’m supposed to have tons of money in savings. I’m supposed to know exactly what I want out of life. I’m supposed to have it together. Somehow, some way, I’m supposed to be successful at 28 years old.
Of all these things I’m supposed to be…none of them measure up to what I actually am. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Sometimes I am an actress and put on silly shows for my daughter. I use my impeccable ability to make myself cry, I speak in accents, I come up with wild scenes for no reason, and everything has song lyrics. Other times I’m a fashion designer, making costumes and clothes for my kiddos. Almost everyday, I am a teacher: I spend my days shaping the lives of two of the most important tiny humans in my world. I work on sign language with my 5 month old and help strengthen his cognitive and motor skills. I help my daughter learn new ways to complete her homework, I teach her new reading strategies and comprehension skills, and am helping her to learn to write in cursive. Daily, I teach her about responsibility, respect, honesty, courage, compassion, and trust. I have a beautiful, supportive family. We live in a nice (rental) home, my (old) car is paid off, and I have little debt. I am fortunate enough to take time from a career to raise our son. I have a college degree, medical and dental insurance, and my entire family is in excellent health. What I do have is priceless.
One morning, I woke up and decided this is success.
I’m not supposed to be where anyone else is. I’m not supposed to be doing or have done what anyone else is or has done. If I had done all these other things or chosen one of those other paths, my life may not be where it is now. I may not have found the love of my life. I may not have these two beautiful, amazing children I’ve been blessed with. One thing I started telling myself over and over again, is that in life, we end up where we need to be when the time is right. There is no magic age where you are “supposed to be” in a specific place. I had been stuck in that mindset for so long, that I had to snap myself out of it in order to see the true beauty of the current moment and the life I actually live. So, to you, this is a reminder not to get so caught up in what you could have/should have been that you forget that you are the amazing, perfectly imperfect human being that you are supposed to be because of where you are and what you have done in your years. Time makes no mistakes. This moment needs you just right where you are. That’s why you’re here.
You’re already where you’re supposed to be.
I wrote this post on 10/11/2016. I was really settling into to being a mother of 2 and struggling with being a stay-at-home mom for the first time ever. I think I’d define it as looking for purpose…something other than motherhood, and I was looking too much outwardly at what others were doing, instead of seeing what was right in front of me. I’ll be honest though and say I still have these moments, ones where it doesn’t feel like I’ve “done enough” in my 34 years. I don’t always feel equipped to handle every question that comes my way. I wish I was smarter, more knowledgeable about things, someone else, almost. But ya know…even though I don’t know all the things, I’m really feeling the “where I’m supposed to be” vibes and the idea that we are called for the moments we are in. This time around, I still don’t have a career, we still don’t own a house, we still don’t have a boatload of savings, we are still far from having it all. We’re living in a beautiful (albeit, expensive) incredibly safe, comfortable, and accessible city, and my family and I have access to things we never envisioned. Our kids go to fantastic schools and have friends and teachers who love them to pieces. We did finally get a nice new car last year. I work part time and I’m a full time college student in a fashion design program at a community college (working toward my dreams). My husband works full time while also building his own dreams from scratch, inspired by our surroundings and the community he has become a part of over the past couple of years. The world is changing, we are still in pandemic times, and we never know what’s to come. Despite it all, I still believe that this exact moment is where I’m needed most.