When I entered college, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. Yes, at a ripe old age of 18, I had ‘direction’! Truthfully, as a child of my immigrant parents, you had to have direction, ambition, and drive. No choice in the matter.
After the first year, I was rattled. I hated the classes I needed to study, and I had to change my mind. It was unsettling. All of a sudden, I had NO clue! A semester or so later, I did learn that opening yourself up to new possibilities is exciting and challenging.
I learned I hated philosophy, calculus, computer programming, and answering my parents’ constant questions of ‘what will you do with your life?’ But once I settled on a direction to study Economics, things made sense, and I felt that I found my niche.
After graduation, I kind of thought this was it. A career in banking and management was what I would do for the rest of my life. It worked with various growth and interesting opportunities. It was a great ride until the recession of 2008/2009 when I, along with others I am sure, were laid off work.
By then, we had two kids, and I questioned what I wanted to do. It was very clear that given a chance to spend more time raising the girls was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. If only I could figure out how to do it! Why is motherhood so hard!?
Then, along with a graduate program, I decided to explore more family-oriented jobs, albeit temporarily. I found that running day camps, spring through summer, would allow me to use my college education and professional background and skills while allowing me to spend more time with the kids during the fall and winter.
It gave me a chance to balance my career and motherhood! This worked temporarily. Yes, temporarily, it has been 12 years! I am forever grateful that I was able to do that. My kids grew up at camp with me and saw me most days after school.
But now, we are on to the next chapter. With two of them pretty much grown, what now? I find that I want more! I am back to my 18-year-old self, one year into college, asking the same question.
I had a direction, but what now? It looms over me. Truthfully, it’s a bit frightening. How is it that I am still asking myself the same questions 27 years into my professional career path? Shouldn’t I have figured it out by now?
I may be my own worst enemy as I continue to ask myself, what now? What is wrong with keeping as is? My poor husband doesn’t know what to do with my hair-brained ideas and what now questions again!
I recognize that it is a privilege to be in this position, to be able to ask myself these questions and to be able to choose.