Life is so crazy. Some days I feel like I know exactly where I am going with every step and I can see those steps drifting out in front of me forever in those black dance instruction footprints. And then the next day I feel like I am walking in such dense fog that I can barely see my knees as they rise up to me with each step. How do you reconcile the two extremes?
I try to play the cranial recording of my old professor. Over the course of five and a half years and a bachelor's and master's degree, I had her for four classes. She was so inspiring, I couldn't get enough of her! She told her classes, fairly often, that "I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up."
With her children entering their teen years, this was a bold statement, but you couldn't help but believe her.
It spoke to the sense of fear we all have about aging and success, and finding a "career". It gave us a reprieve from the worry of deciding a major, or deciding which job was the "right" job. It expressed, with such grace, the inner child we all are afraid to let go of and let us know that we didn't have to.
She had a shpiel. And I heard it every year. Certain phrases she obviously loved and always got a reaction from, but that one I truly believed.
She is a soccer mom, and a writer, and a professor, and a department head, and wife to an adventure journalist; all the while cussing up a storm (until the kids are around, when she is Soccer Mom again). She is what she wants to be. She never let anyone tell her she couldn't do it all. She never let anyone even suggest that maybe she was taking on too much or that she should slow down and focus. She just did it. And if tomorrow she wanted to go back to school to be a scientist, she probably would, but I highly doubt she would stop doing any of the things she already does.
Unknowingly, she gets me through those rough spots. Those days I can't see my knees. Her attitude toward life and work and family told me it was ok to enjoy each day. It is ok to not know the future, it is ok to go out on a limb, it is ok to love every other minute of the day, it is even ok (and possible) to be successful and be a soccer mom.
She isn't the only person to ever inspire me, but she was the first to show me that the life I want is plausible--not just tell me I could have it, but show me.