It occurred to me that it has been 18 years (yikes!) since I graduated high school and this fall will be 15 years since I graduated college. Back in high school, I had a terrible time imagining myself in the future.
The career fair folks hated me because I just saw a blank slate. I don't know, I guess that's not a bad thing; I've been able to fill in that blank slate as I go. In college, I majored in Environmental Science and really enjoyed my classes. I haven't used my degree since 1998, though. I discovered I didn't like working in a lab when I interned at Argonne National Lab. But that's ok. I learned a lot and microbiology and toxicology classes can come in handy in every day life.
I'm lucky enough that I've been able to reinvent myself a little along the way. I'm not the same person I was 18 years ago; I don't think most people are. They talk a lot about retirees having a second act. And maybe for earlier generations the post-career career was a second act. But for a lot of us, that'll be the 5th or 9th or 21st act. I'm already on at least my third. And I'm not just talking jobs but finding out who we are.
What have I filled in on that blank slate? Well, I couldn't have imagined my husband - I hadn't met him. And the idea of kids was very vague in high school. I had a college major picked out, but we can see how long that lasted. Would I have pictured myself at a credit union? Nope. Or how about moving to Indiana? Considering I was only familiar with northern Indiana and hadn't seen the hills of Bloomington, I would have laughed.
Right now I'm in a temporary place: full-time mom. Yes, I know I'll always be mom. But when the kids are in school, they won't need me all the time, which is as it should be. When I'm done with the stay at home mom thing in a couple years, I'm going to go back to school. It's a scary prospect, but that's part of reinventing myself. You see, I have discovered that I like data. And there are degrees out there for people who like to play with data.
Will there be something else after that? Who knows. I'll never say never. And the advantage of living in a university town is that learning new things is always possible, even encouraged. The next act is always just around the corner waiting to be discovered.
So what about you? Is your life what you imagined? How is it different or the same?