Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pre Mid-Life Crisis?

So in the past 19 months with my current therapist, I've danced around a variety of topics. Most of them pertained to my father and his illness, and after December, obviously around his demise. I finally wondered aloud if my dad was the only reason I was there...and she said that, with the background info she'd pieced together, most likely there were more issues to delve into. Uh, thanks...I think. Well, I knew deep down she was right. Let's see...self-esteem, self-worth, a teensy bit obsessive/compulsive (but not the wash-your-hands-10,000-times-a-day/have-to-check-all-the-locks-at-night-kind-of-OCD), control issues, etc. etc. etc. What can I say? I'm a complex kinda gal.

Through all the gobbledygook, brilliant therapist said "Do you think that maybe you're struggling right now because you don't have a "greater goal" in mind?"

I stopped talking and just...absorbed. Could it be? Hmm. Well, after high school's swarm of activity, I entered college and of course, always had some sort of goal/assignment/hellishness to complete. Once the B.A. was done, there was the checklist with "get a real job" in bold print, right on top, followed closely by "move out of parental house". It took a little over a year to achieve that one (after hundreds of resumes and a few interviews...elementary teachers of the non-minority variety were a dime a dozen). There was also the short term outcome of "find a man better than that piece of crap that cheated on you with a snow cow" that was checked off...since I met the man who would become Molly's Dad. Then I moved in with him ($22,000/year employment by a charter school does not pay for a solo apartment, utilities, car payment, and student loans. Damn.) and we began wedding planning. Next goal? Getting through the hellish first year of teaching, after which I decided something else needed doing - it was a reeeeeeally sucky year. I took the GRE (after a prep period of 2 weeks) and applied to the speech path program at a local university - and got in for the fall semester. Okay! So then my next 4 years was filled with short term outcomes leading to the big goal of graduation. I was busy and mentally was good. Check.

Next goal after the M.A., naturally, was get a real job. Didn't have to wait long for that; I started R.J. 2 weeks before physically graduating. So then? STO was to get to the end of the CFY (clinical fellow year) and take/pass the certification test. Check.

And then baby planning came into play. As with everything else in my fracking life, this child was ├╝ber planned and, while she wasn't conceived exactly when I would've liked for her to have a spring birthday (stop rolling your eyes. I have issues.), it worked out just fine. I changed jobs so as to have a shorter workday and work year (although I was giving up a job I otherwise loved), and we moved along. STO at that time was to not be a shitty mom and sink or swim in the world of speech path in the schools. Check.

The spring after M turned 2, husband started getting a bit tired of his micromanaging boss and decided to look for other employment options. This was before the fall of Detroit (and I'm soooo glad he got out when he did...his company was in a contract with one of the car companies that went bankrupt this year so who knows what happened with that contract?). I was super tired of living in metro D and we were clearly outgrowing our tiny tract bungalow, so when he found a job on the west side of the state (an hour away from my hometown), we decided to go for it. I found a job in a fairly short amount of time. Check.

Then my dad got sick. I knew this would be a hard journey for me, being a daddy's girl. But the next 14 months were spent basically waiting to hear results of PET scans, letting go of breaths when all looked well, and just holding on. Then the bottom fell out of my world and I've been just sort of floating here ever since. No STOs, no goals...just to stop my mind from manufacturing crazy - staving off horrific anxiety, depression, etc.

The fog has started to lift ever so slightly. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. My laugh comes a bit more easily these days. But now? Now I need to see what the next goal will be. I am not one of those women who lives and breathes solely for her family...I love them to pieces, but I cannot function that way. I (selfishly) need a goal for me. But I don't know what it is.

Any of you, whether you normally read this (crappily boring) blog or whether you just happened upon it. Any ideas for a new life goal? For a pre mid-life crisis? I wish it were just as easy as a hot pool boy to look at or some plastic surgery, but it ain't. So give me your two cents. How do you guys handle this? Do you even run off little goals like that, or am I some kind of freakish robot like human? (Wait, don't answer that part. I'm still sensitive.)