And I looked around and I just didn't want to go there. I don't know what moment hit me, or when I decided to try and turn it around, but I know in my head I felt like I was having fun where I WAS but didn't want to go where I was GOING.
So feeling guilty for pulling away from my friendships and conflicted on what the 'right' thing was, I made a choice.
|Full Disclosure - I don't own a decent picture of me in highschool. So this is the summer after graduation.|
In the spring 14 years ago I was back on track to finish high school but I was lonely and a little lost. Then one day an old childhood boyfriend popped back in my life and everything changed. We knew it was different. We knew we had to see where it went.
So knowing he was months away from basic training and with my college acceptance letter in hand, I made a choice.
In the spring 13 years ago I knew I had 3 years of school left for my Undergrad degree, but I also knew I could graduate in 1 year with just a Social Work Diploma, and it would be enough to Register and find work. I knew my love would be posted to live in a different city than my college soon, and I knew I didn't want to spend that long so far apart.
So, with him on bended knee, 18 years old with his head still shaved from Boot Camp, I made a choice.
In the spring 12 years ago, standing with those who loved us I didn't for one minute turn back from my decision. As I looked at his happy tears at the alter and thought of our tiny little Base house and our tiny salary and our tiny savings, all I saw was our huge future in front of us.
So, dressed all in white and lace and weeks after I turned 20, I made a choice.
In the spring 11 years ago Dh had just left, hurried and uncertain for his first deployment in Afghanistan. I was unexpectedly expecting and the grown up job I thought I wanted wasn't working. I had been frantically applying to finish my degree up until then. I felt like a disappointment if I didn't finish. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was giving up. Bu there was no money and no time and it was all I could do to just keep going where I was.
So, 6 months pregnant and alone in a new city going through my first deployment, I made a choice.
In the spring 10 years ago my maternity leave was almost up and we were desperately searching for a job for me in my field. But Social Work meant shift work and a baby meant I couldn't do shift work when I was occasionally parenting alone. I had never planned to be a stay-home mom. I had always wanted a career and I didn't want to just work some random job that I could find. But we needed the income and we needed the convenience and there was a job available, outside my field but possible with childcare.
So, disheartened but resigned that it was what it was, I made a choice.
In the spring 5 years ago I had been holding the same job for years, cutting back hours with the arrival of each child, some days working from home. But with baby #3 now in my arms and Dh back in Afghanistan, again, it wasn't worth the cost of childcare, the stress on the kids, the juggling of schedules and the lack of rest.
So at 26 with 3 under 6 and parenting on my own more often than not, I made a choice.
And now, under all that Canadian snow, spring IS coming again. And not just outside, but here, for me.
Spring is here and the choices are there to be made.
I can see the decisions I wouldn't ever change laid out behind me. The ones that brought me here.
32 years old with an oldest child coming up on babysitting age and a youngest child starting full time school in the fall, I sit here wondering.
If you laid out all those spring choices on paper, they would be hard to recognize from the drawn out explanations I just wrote.
Do you date the recruit with one foot out the door, or walk away to see what else is out there?
Do you finish a free ride through University or drop out early for love?
Do you marry a teenager or take time to grow up on your own first?
Do you go back to school or have a child by 21?
Do you find a job in your field or take the job that's closer?
Do you stay in the workforce or become the stay-home-mom you had no desire to be?
In black and white, some of the choices look downright easy.
But contrasted by life, those choices became something entirely different.
And the easy choice wasn't the right one.
I don't take hints well. God was good at pressing my hand.
I've had amazing opportunities, abundant blessings and choices that, when seen next to life, aren't really choices at all.
So Spring is coming and decisions lay before me and this time, there is more choice out there.
I am paralysed with fear.
I've become complacent, rolling where life took me and completely without my ability to decide for myself.
I've become afraid, unable to move without crippling doubt that I am not good enough to do anything but get by.
The truth is right now I could try and finish school (or at least see if we can afford it).
I could go back to work.
I could take steps to follow a calling on my heart.
And instead of accepting an obvious but difficult to understand path like I have the rest of my adult life, this time God has given me a choice if I will follow where He is leading.
A much less obvious choice.
And more and more, I have fewer legitimate reasons to stay where I am and more excuses instead.
My dream has always been to implement change in the areas I'm passionate about. I've always enjoyed public speaking, both as a job and as a volunteer. And it's those times I've had those opportunities that I've felt where my purpose my one day end up.
I am not afraid of speaking in public. Of working passionately for a cause. Of writing on paper or the Internet for the world.
What I am afraid of is telling anyone I am good enough to do it.
I think, in fact, I am too afraid to even try and convince someone I could do any job, anywhere.
I've become good at doing the jobs I need to do, the things I am lead kicking and screaming to, but never the things I ask to do.
My dreams have waited, sometimes patiently and sometimes with screaming bitterness in the quiet those moments that I came to realizations over the years that it wasn't the time.
And maybe, maybe it might still be time to wait.
But it seems like the Still Small Voice is whispering - it's time to step out a little.
It's almost spring and at 32 years old, with no regrets and much apprehension, I need to make some choices.