I believe it is never too late to change your life.

I believe it is never too late to change your life.

I am a 52-year-old housewife. I graduated from college with a degree in Computers. I worked until my children were born and then decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I have two beautiful daughters who make me proud every day. My oldest daughter is 18 and youngest is 16.  Oh, and a dog, a 7-year-old golden doodle and cat.

The problem is during the past 18 years I have given so much of myself I know longer know who I am. I didn’t know during that time, that I had a right, even a necessity, to take time for myself. I don’t regret my choice. I just wish someone had pulled me aside and said, “Honey, you’re setting yourself up for a nervous breakdown”.

Before I got married I traveled. I love new places and meeting new people. I was an ice-skater teacher, an actress, and a writer. But I forgot about that because I was busy taking care of my family. My husbands’ job required him to work long nights and most weekends so I was almost a single parent.

As the years went by, I lost myself. I felt so empty inside. I had nothing left of myself to give my family. I was all used up. I found myself sinking into a deep depression. It got to be so bad that I was almost hospitalized to keep me from committing suicide.

One day while on the computer, I started playing an online multiplayer video game.  I had always liked video games. There, I met a group of people who were a lot like me. I felt included again and welcomed, I started to feel something growing in me again. I realized I had to reclaim my life. I got help from a therapist for my depression. She made me see that I could have my life back again and that I could be good, even great.  I needed to find a way to balance the needs of my family and my own needs.

I decide to take a very bold step, way out of my comfort zone. I would fly, by myself, across the country to San Diego for a convention of pop culture and comic books called Comic Con. I would meet some friends I met on the game there and do something solely for myself. I was nervous and scared and changed my mind many times. But I did it! I had a great time and on the way home I realized I can reclaim my life. I am ready to start my second act.

I have since started to take writing and painting classes. I have learned how to draw boundaries with my husband and children all while still being a good wife and mother. It’s taking my kids a little getting used to the new me. I don’t jump when they say to and I think in the long run we’ll all be better for it.

Advertisements

The Wonder Years

After receiving this assignment, I went through my purse, my desk and junk drawer.  I couldn’t find anything to interesting to write about. When suddenly the “To Do List” my oldest daughter left lying on my desk caught my eye. I’m currently having an ongoing, well let’s see, what should I call it? Disagreement; is probably the best way to describe it, with my 18-year-old daughter. A “To Do List”, she left on my desk, not for herself, but for me! It hit me like a bucket of cold water in the face. What kind of insanity is this? When did I become her secretary? She walks around declaring her independence. I know this is a stage that every teen goes through, but I really don’t remember the part of stage where I become her secretary. Anyone else get “To Do Lists” from their teenage children? Maybe it’s just me.

I’m calling this piece “The Wonder Years” because I’m wondering exactly where I went wrong.  I grew up in a lower middle class home. My father worked in an oil refinery and my mother stayed at home. We struggled to make ends meet. You better make sure you shut the windows and turned the lights out at my house. There was no college fund for me. If I wanted to have a fancy wedding, I would have to pay for it.  Growing up I knew I would have to work hard to get what I wanted out of life.

My family has been fortunate.  Our children grew up in a somewhat affluent atmosphere, and yes, I’ll say it, we spoiled them. We also encouraged and stressed that they could be whatever they wanted. We wanted to raise our children differently than then how we had been raised. Although, I still do find myself yelling about shutting windows and turning off lights. Out of love, we told our children they were special. Everyone gets a ribbon, just for participating, trophies for all the children on the team whether they won or lost. By raising our children this way, I believe we set our children’s expectations too high and ultimately, set them up to be unhappy.

This high self-esteem that we were trying to foster in our children has actually back fired. When your child is not accepted at a fancy “name brand” college and has to shockingly, settle, for a local or dare I say it, community college.  They get a nice, big, bitter taste of reality. The world, it seems, doesn’t care how special they are.  You don’t have to go to a big name school in order to get a good job. Try and tell that to a child who you’ve been telling how wonderful they are all their life. I finally told my daughter, after almost 4 months of listening to her complaining about having to go to a local college,

“Get over it. Move forward from here. This is the real world.” Welcome! It’s tough out there. Wear a helmet.