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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The life I didn't choose

All I know is where I am at now. I know where my resume has gaping holes. I know how my interview skills have gotten a little rusty around the edges. I know my short-comings in my current full-time job as a parent and as an aspiring author.

And because I know those things, I know that I am not perfect. I am not a perfect mother. I am not a perfect writer. I am not a perfect wife. I am not a perfect daughter. I am not a perfect friend. I am not a perfect neighbor. Acknowledging my imperfections has got me wondering about the life I didn't choose. About the writing career I didn't pursue after I had a baby.

I'm sure I would still be imperfect in many ways, but I wonder about the parts of me that didn't get nurtured based on the choices I've made. At this point in my career, I would have had 12 solid years of writing and reporting experience. Sure, I'm still writing, but it has been many years since I did it full time. Since I did it without interruption. Since I did it without breaks. Since I did it without constant deadlines or editors barking at me over my shoulder.

I don't know where that other life would have led me, but I wonder about it. I wonder about it with nostalgia. I wonder about it as if it was the glamorous life I left behind. As if it was the gratifying work it never was. As if it was the serious boyfriend I never got married to. Or the city I didn't move to after my college graduation. Or the kids I didn't have those times I thought I was pregnant.

With all that wondering and romanticizing, I think about it as if it is something I've been missing out on, like that advanced degree I really want to hang on the wall behind the monitor. But I know it's not. I felt proud of myself when I decided to leave it. It was like deciding not to read the rest of novel I wasn't enjoying just because I started it.

I dreamt about this life. I dreamt about being a mom. I dreamt about getting to choose my destination each day with my kids at my feet.

I suppose that is the funny thing about choices. You never really know what you gave up. In some ways, I'm a better writer because I'm writing what I want to write about every day. But I don't have an editor. I don't have deadlines. I don't have someone pushing me to do better. At this point, I only have me. And some days--like when a rejection letter shows up in the mail--it's easier to dream about what I gave up. On those days it is just easier than pushing forward.


  1. The good news is, when you choose to go back (if you do so choose), it's not as hard a return as you fear.

  2. Ahhh... choices. See, even if you did choose the other side (like me), you dream of the path YOU took.

    The grass is always greener. And in fact, so green, I am in the midst of considering taking the "other" path.

    I think it stems from wanting a feeling of validation, less stress, loneliness (I feel it too, even working!), etc.

    It's trying to do what is best for our family. No matter what the choice.