Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Celebrating changes in life

As I continue searching for my focus and passion, I am trying celebrate the many changes that we are considering.  Our 22-year old daughter has worked two part-time jobs during her last year of college.  She wants to be independent and live with friends, or at least she thinks she does.  I sense she thinks this is the right thing to do, but a part of her is not sure.

I love having her at home.  I know she is safe  She has access to food, laundry, and her own room.  Of course, many children would have left for college by now.  Part of me says, I am lucky she lived at home for this long.  Of course, I want her to be independent.  This announcement just took my be surprise.

As I adapt to her being transitioning toher new place, I am trying to be supportive and remain open minded.  I have told her she can come home at anytime.  In my new found freedom with less laundry, I am trying to focus on the new things she is learning rather than missing her.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My focus is shifting

Today, my oldest daughter turns 22.  My husband and I had been married just a few months, when we found out we were expecting.  I was so happy but so unprepared.

We had graduated from college, married, and moved from Iowa to Chicago in May.  Fortunately, he had a job and I was planning on going to graduate school at the University of Chicago.  After visiting the university, and driving by a McDonald's with bars on the windows, I decided that this was not the right school for me.  I had no real experience with diversity....this was after all the 1980s and I had grown up in a suburban neighborhood and lived very close to UNI.

So, I started working part-time, and looked for full-time work while we started planning for our family.  There was little thought about finances and daycare.  Meanwhile, I started working as a Marketing Assistant and was accepted to Northwestern University for the following June.

When our daughter was born right before Mother's Day, we brought her home to a house we had been in just a few weeks.  I prepared to start graduate school in three weeks, and we set out to find daycare.  Three weeks after delivering a baby, I started graduate school, went back to work part-time, and we adjusted to our new schedule.

For 14 years, I focused on finishing graduate school and my doctorate, while working my way up the corporate ladder.  We had moved back to Iowa shortly after I finished graduate school.  Meanwhile, my husband pursued various positions and careers.  We had a second daughter.   Then, seven years ago, I transitioned to teaching college full-time.  Life slowed down (and so did my salary).  But, our girls were active, my husband was traveling, and I knew I needed to stop traveling and be more available at home.

Now, I have resigned from my full-time teaching position.  I am teaching part-time, and working on a few contract projects.  My husband and I are flipping a house.  My salary has changed again, but this time, I am more ready to slow down and accept a different pace of life.  I want to work enough to live but LIVING is my focus.

My family is still important!  I still want a career, but I want to clearly separate my work and my personal time.  And, as I told my 16-year old, I want to be at all your games and concerts, but I have some things I want to do for me too.  Somehow, in our effort to provide for our family, my husband and I lost our focus for each other and the things we like to do.....imagine that!

For now, I am committed to providing a more balanced focus in my life!