I remember reading Oh the Places You’ll Go when I was seventeen, a graduation gift from a cherished first love complete with obligatory love letter of platitudes appropriate for the occasion. I skimmed it, quickly surmising that said first love believed in me and I would definitely be going places in my life sooner rather than later. Looking back, I wish I had paid more attention to the twists in the road of life Dr. Seuss so aptly described. If I had, perhaps I wouldn’t have lingered as long as I did in the “waiting place”.
I think we’re fed a lot of bull as we grow up about what our lives should look like. Some people wade through the manure easier than others. An ailment from which I suffered that made it harder to get clarity was that of being a people pleaser. I did a good job at faking independence and looking like I was making choices for myself but really, I went to work for the CHURCH after twelve years of Catholic school. I was addicted to approval.
I guess I just thought that everything would fall into place and I’d be a teacher, get married, have kids and I don’t know what…that’s what all my friends were doing and I was sure that’s what everyone wanted me to do, too. So I waited because, let’s face it – sometimes the waiting place isn’t that bad a place to hang. I was never lonely. I was never bored. But I was also never proactive when it came to really making my life what I wanted it to be. I guess what I thought was “just happening” with my friends getting married and starting families was really them making choices in their lives. And working and teaching religion was easy and fun, so I lived in the waiting place – stuck in a nice existence where I never made a choice because everything was good enough.
It wasn’t until I started writing a few years ago that I finally saw the path out of that waiting place. It was illuminated by this creative urge that started blinking off and on. At first it was more off than on. Now it’s more on than off, but it’s still not as steady as I’d like. I need it to shine bright enough that I can’t find my way back to the waiting place. Writing woke me up and helped me say, “Wait, I never really knew if I wanted to get married or start a family and I never really wanted to teach religion my whole life.” So maybe I need to start choosing.
The actual choices I’ve made in the last few years have been full of risks I never would have taken in the waiting place. Writing conferences, directing, performing, teaching marketing in addition to religion…they’ve all been steps away from that old molasses swamp. I’m starting a Masters in Educational Technology in the spring and I’ve finished two books (although still haven’t made the choice to actively work towards publication). I’ve worked on myself both inside and out. I’m in a good place now and it’s one where I really can’t wait to see what MY future will hold. I’m leaving the waiting place behind. Guess I should dig out that book and see what’s next!