When you’re young you have such firm ideas of how life should go. What age makes you a grown up, what it is that grown ups do.. houses, kids, marriages, jobs.
I was so convinced that by my mid 20’s I would be a mother. All my life I’ve been great with kids, the go to babysitter, a doting older sister. Family party? Jen will keep the kids entertained and safe.. and do you know what? I loved it.
It came naturally to me, I love kids and have always been able to get on their level, talk to them, keep them happy, even tell them off when they needed it, my confidence with childcare knew no bounds.
The number of people that have told me what a great mum I’ll be, the coworkers, friends or family members that have asked when it’s going to be my turn, that they’d thought I’d have had a bunch by now..
Well that, whilst initially flattering (as I assume is the intention), quickly turns to a little bit hurtful, a little bit heartbreaking and now, sometimes just plain devastating.
I’m 35 on Saturday, I’m not pregnant, I have no children. I feel broken.
I also thought I’d have a great career, even though I wanted a family I didn’t want that to be everything about me, I wanted to work, to be happy and passionate and make a difference.
Can I claim those things are true, or have I failed at them too?
I have a job, it’s a good job and I like what I do, it does make a difference, but not really because of me. I work alongside, for, or with the people making all the differences and creating positive changes, but I’m not one of them, not really.
I haven’t been in it for too long yet, but I’ve had long term sick leave for my mental health twice. That’s not a great start is it, so can I really say I’m successful in work? Does it count if I haven’t actually been there the whole time? Will this be my career, will I be able to come back from this leave, and hit the ground running, really make my mark? Who knows.
What I mean by all this is, we think we have a path to follow, milestones we’ll all hit on our journey, but I’ve diverged, I’m not sure if I hit them or bounced off and have fallen away in the wrong direction.
What I’m asking is, am I lost?