As part of BlogHer celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their conference next month (#BlogHer14), the powers have be have asked the following question:
For me, it’s more like “Who were you ten years ago?” since I feel like a completely different person in so many ways.
- Just relocated back to Illinois
- Unemployed for over a year – by choice
- The mother of a 12-year old daughter
- Secure in my relationships with my Dad and Grandmother
- Getting ready to explore the world
- Barely used email, and has no daily use for the internet
Just typing that list made me nostalgic, sad, and confused all at once.
How could I have been okay with not working? How did I not see that not holding tight to my own identity aside from being a wife and a mother would cause to to lose myself completely? How did I not KNOW that I needed to feel like I was still valued for ME – not just as an extension of another? Oh I wish I could go back to that 33 year old woman and tell her not to let go. Not to let the days go by without having a purpose, a reason, a confidence in herself that she COULD do whatever crazy dream that popped in to her head.
Maybe I wasn’t ready then. Maybe I needed to gain some things – like my two precious baby girls – and lose so many more before I would really appreciate all that time and life have to offer. My marriage. My grandmother. My father. Losses that have torn my heart to pieces and yet somehow allowed me to really listen to the inner voice that says “You CAN do anything.”
No email? No internet? Just the thought of not having a Mac, an iPod, iPad, and my iPhone to check my SEVEN email accounts for even a day makes me have heart palpitations. I was NOT someone that was very good on the computer. Oh, I could figure out what I needed to do for whatever job I was doing. And I was a BOSS in WordPerfect (MailMerge anyone?). But to think that I spend my days on the computer and that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT is craziness to me. And me – a writer? Surely my high school English teacher would be laughing his head off right now because I struggled my way through a BOOK REPORT and it was always late. To think that I love to write now and it’s also part of my chosen career path is shocking and incredible.
Ten years ago I was happily married. We had a great time when it was just the two of us; we were great friends. Once our girls came along, the expectations that came with normal gender roles, poor communication and two people who were and are desperately stubborn made for a bad combination. Despite the difficulties that it has caused my girls not having both of their parents under the same roof, I think the blessings that come with adding new people to their family more than make up for it.
In 2004, I was a dependent. Always relying on someone else to take care of me and keep a roof over my head. With my consent, I let my job go in favor of keeping a good home and being available when my spouse needed me or wanted to travel. I had no set direction as far as a career, no college education, and no plan what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I was a kick-ass, stay-at-home wife. All of that changed after my marriage ended and I lost my father. When the people that hold your history are gone and all that remains is yourself and the next generation, it’s time to start creating something to leave to them. It wasn’t about money; I wanted to show my daughters that anything is possible. It’s never to late to discover your dreams and go for it. Even if you fail, what did you LEARN along the way.
That’s what I’ve embraced in the last ten years. Owning he path that I am on and seeking the message from every experience. Why am I in this place? What did I have to learn from going through this? Some things make a ton of sense – others I’ll never have the answers for. But I’ve realized that every day I need to give it my best. I need to strive to be the very best Jennifer I can be, or it’s a wasted day.
So I tip my hat to the last 3,650 days for the lessons that you have taught me and I accept the challenge of making the next 3,650 day as fantastic as possible!
Share your #Selfiebration stories HERE with the rest of the #BlogHer community and let’s connect in San Jose!!