Saturday, May 27, 2006

It Isn't the Poetry

This isn't a poetry slump. It is all starting to make sense. I hesitate to tell you what I think it really is because I always thought I was above this.

Ready? Lean in so I can whisper it.

I think it's a mid-life crisis.

And what is worse? Realizing half of my life is over and I haven't accomplished even half of what I hoped I would? Or is it admitting that I am old enough to have one? I think that's a tie.

Life goes by more slowly when you're young. Why doesn't anybody tell you that? It makes sense, because everything is relative. But when you're a child, you feel like you'll be around forever. I remember thinking, "I'm ten years old, and I've been alive for such a long time...if I've got seventy or so more of these years to live, there is nothing I can't do!" It was just a notch below immortality.

Nobody explained that time would slip by more quickly with each passing year, and that the possibility of accomplishing new goals would be an increasing challenge. Heck, if anybody did tell me, I'm sure I would not have listened anyway.

I know, I know, there are many examples of people who "made it" in their golden years. There is no rational reason to feel down. But what does "made it" mean, and why do I feel like it is still something I need to do?

Will I always be dissatisfied with myself, thinking I should be something more than what I am? I have a lot to be thankful for, of course. Can I blame my ADD? Why not? I never quite reach my potential because I can't focus, finish things I start, etc. But what about my fellow ADDers who got past their shortcomings to create incredible careers, such as the founder of Jet Blue airlines and the infamous e-tickets (because he was always losing his!)?

Did I chose the wrong career path? Certainly, I feel that I did. I had so much doubt that in my senior year I didn't even go through the steps to practice and secure interviews. I was sure I was not going to be a teacher. But I was so close to the degree, it was worth finishing to fall back on.

After all, I didn't start college to become a teacher. I was in the college of business headed for a career in advertising. I remember the advisor telling me I was making a big mistake when I left that college. It wasn't until about twenty years later that I realized he was right.

All that indecision. And I never narrowed it down. I spent my twenties in and out of art school and teaching jobs. I couldn't dedicate myself to either one, bouncing back and forth protected by my delusion of immortality. My obsession at that stage of my life was overcoming infertility.

Procrastination? Is that the root of my problem? I always felt I was destined for great things, but I would get to that later. If my ADD had been identified and addressed, perhaps I could have had counseling to steer me in the right direction. I needed help narrowing down a career choice that would fit in with my "ways", and also one that would utilize my talents. Teaching was never a great fit. It became my crutch.

And now I finally understand that time does not stop for me. And I realize that I made some wrong choices in my life. And I feel like I'm not exactly who I want to be.

On the other hand, I feel wrong in saying that because I am a mother. Becoming a mother was the single most important thing to me, and I had to fight long and hard to make that happen. I wouldn't trade the job of mothering my children for anything in the world. I tell myself that this must be enough. But I just don't believe it.

I took an online test the other day to determine the right jobs for me. (I wish I did that twenty years ago. ) Anyway, the results were pretty interesting. The choices did not consider ADD nor how inept I am in math into account, so that knowledge eliminates some of their picks. The number one choice was an Architect (that's my father's occupation so for some reason I never considered it), then the list was...

$62,000 - $82,000
Computer systems analyst
$62,000 - $82,000
$76,000 - $98,000
Airplane pilot
$99,000 - $111,000
Flight engineer
$87,000 - $105,000
$65,000 - $86,000

What was more interesting for me, however, was the explanation, which was right on. I'll print that below. The second choice, Psychologist, is what I actually always wanted to be, since junior high school. However, I decided early on that it would take too much schooling to become a psychiatrist, and for some ignorant reason, I never considered other jobs in that field. A good mentor at that time in my life could have helped.

I should have pursued a career in writing (journalism or advertising), psychology (counselor or research), or illustration. I still think I am a very good educator,too, but would prefer the university level. I could do well in any of these, and they would probably fit with the following analysis of my ideal job situation.

From the quiz at

Your most important qualities are: Analytical and Creative. (yes)

You try to control situations by learning everything there is to know. You hesitate to take hasty actions and prefer to become an expert before providing your opinion on matters. When you do become an expert, however, it is hard for you to listen to novices who try to give their advice, as well. As a result, you ultimately prefer to work by yourself so that you can implement your own solution rather than cooperate just to please others.Research has shown that people whose personalities are well-suited to their job environments are happier and more successful. You do not need to live in extravagance, but you do like to indulge in a few luxuries. Whether you own a nice home, have an expensive hobby, or take lavish vacations, you are proud that your hard work can support the lifestyle you want. Having a stable, and relatively prestigious, job is a priority for you. Your career identity is important to you, and you want to feel proud when telling others what you do for a living. Be careful that you spend within your means. In your later years, retiring comfortably and paying off debts should be your priorities. Because having a rewarding career is important to you, be on the lookout for career advancement opportunities.

I guess it is time for me to research if and how I can still get the education I would need to obtain my "ideal career".

At this point in my life, I finally understand that time really does fly and that I won't be around forever. And this is not an easy pill to swallow. I realize I need to get moving and make things happen. I no longer have room for my old pal, Procrastination, but I doubt I can dump him for good.


At 5:49 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Oh man, you just wrote my memoirs!
Isn't it amazing how life gets in the way of our dreams?

When I started dealing with my kid's neurological problems, I found that I have a knack for psychology. Too bad I didn't know that in high school! :(

At 6:36 PM, Blogger nate said...

Hi, Lauren, nice blog...

I learned one of the greatest lessons as a kid, years ago. My mother and I had went shopping and bought an item (I can't remember what) from a department store. Later, we walked passed another store, where I saw the same item in the window. I tugged at my mother's jacket and told her, "look, mom, it's [insert item] at this store. Let's see how much it costs..."

She said, "son, when you make a decision, never look back."

I hope that helps somehow.

I've heard it said that Stanley Kunitz was a good poet until he turned 70. Then he became a great one.

Btw, I think there is a poem in this post somewhere (yours, that is, not mine)

At 6:40 PM, Blogger lorguru said...

thanks, tshsmom. Glad you can identify! Well, maybe it isn't such a good thing, but I mean,...I'm glad I'm not alone! Oh heck, what do I mean???? lol

At 6:43 PM, Blogger lorguru said...

Thanks for stopping by with some wise advice, Nate. It is a pleasure to find you here!

At 10:36 PM, Blogger lorguru said...

Hey Nate, I don't know about a poem out of this, but I finally finished my poem for your monthly challenge. I see you have a successful challenge going this month, and you have even attracted new poets to the forum. Good for you! :)

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Pamela V said...

Hi Lauren, finally a blog I can read, besides my own, that is......which you are welcome to visit.

I am in the same boat. My blog is called "life at 42," and it's sometimes about how depressing life can seem at my age. It seems as if I can think of nothing but what I haven't done, and what mistakes I have made. Somedays, that is. Other days I know that life is not about what you do, but who you are. It's not about career choices, or power or money, but about love and compassion.

As women, we have a hard time with pre-middle age because we see our looks fading forever. We have been judged by our looks since the beginning of our lives, and now we have to find something else meaningful to be judged by.

We're in this together, girl!


At 11:24 PM, Blogger lorguru said...

Thanks Pam, we ARE in this together!...Your blog is awesome. So glad to meet you!

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Carl Bryant said...

I'm with Nate on the second-guessing. There is happiness and sorrow to be found everywhere, in every occupation.

When I was in school and dinosaurs ruled the earth, psych was the most popular major. It was an "easy" field of study (bio the only lab science and statistics the only advanced math.) I wonder how many of those with psych degrees were able to work within that field?

I chose to major in math - knowing full well I never intended to teach. I chose those classes I loved, and I'm glad I did.

The salary thing is misleading. 45 grand in a small town is like 80 in the city, but honestly... if all I leave behind is money, I've led a poor life.

The best mark you can make is on those around you right now. Leave history to the future.

Oh - and use the force.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger lorguru said...

Thanks for commenting Nate. But to be honest with you, I KNOW all those things and they are the things have believed all my life. I steered away from things like advertising and psychology because of the things you mentioned, but I really had a passion and most likely the talent to succeed if I would have believed in myself a little more. At least I'd like to think so.
What I'm trying to explain in this post is that despite knowing better, I still feel this way. I don't like to say it, but I think by admitting and confronting feelings like this, it is how one can grow from it.
Carl, you and I are about the same age. I don't think everyone goes through these feelings, and it may be that more women will relate more because we often put our own goals on hold for our children. I'm just happy for you that you don't feel the way I do.
And by the way, just by writing about it and looking at ways to combat it, I am feeling somewhat better already. I do know, though, that if I don't DO something about it, the feeling will resurface.
Thanks again for your visit, and I may be emailing you about my link problems soon since I've not gotten anywhere with that!

At 2:47 PM, Blogger michi said...

lauren - interesting to read your thoughts; i do go off along these lines at times, though not too often. i agree about time going so quickly - but i cannot say they did not tell me when i was younger. only, i did not believe it. it was "yeah right, let the sad oldies talk ..." we considered them to be sentimental loonies. now i am fast becoming one of THEM! *LOL* the point is that it doesn't matter what they tell you as a kid / teenager, you won't believe it anyway. you have to find out for yourself.


At 4:35 PM, Blogger lorguru said...

You're exactly right, michi. Maybe they did tell me and I didn't listen. That's most likely the truth.


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