Sometimes I wish that I could go to my former self in my former life, tap her on the shoulder and say, "Don't waste your energy sister. All plans are off!"
While family and friends were enjoying wedded bliss and multiplying and replenishing the earth; I was married to my job and came home to an empty house or disinterested roommates. I would sit and plan for all of the things that I was going to do when I got into the next stage.
I would think that my children would do this, my spouse and I would do that. We would have these rules. On and on. I like rules and boundaries, just ask Brian :) For example, television. I worked so much, especially right out of college, that I did not have time for TV. I still don't watch a lot of network television. My DVR is full of Food Network, HGTV and the Disney Channel. I have no idea about the plots of LOST, Grey's, or a bunch of other shows that I hear about all of the time. My former self thought, "My kids are not going to watch a lot of TV. They will play outside, and do mind building art projects!" Ha ha.
Cole watches *gasp* multiple hours of television a day. Sometimes it is the only thing that I can use to distract him, sneaking a bite or two in his mouth while he is entranced with Mickey. Sometimes, sitting on the couch is all he can handle, after a long day at the hospital or when his sleep has been interrupted with multiple seizures. Do I like that I can sing all of the songs to all of the shows on Playhouse Disney and I dream about Calliou? Nope. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
If I could, I would also tell my former self to enjoy life. Go on vacation! With people your age, to exotic places! Don't waste time thinking about applying to law school. Go to Greece! Eat special cheeses! Swim in the English Channel! Write a book! It's funny how climbing the ladder can consume you even at an early age. So, I got what I wanted. Experience, authority, and a whole bunch of now-useless knowledge about sex offenders, the Medicare system, and how to fill out harassment forms. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot in each of my jobs in my previous life. A whole bunch of things that are strangely coming in handy in this new life of mine. Information about hospitals, dealing with doctors, filling out paperwork, etc. I just wish I would have taken some time off to play, do something crazy. All of these little plans I made are now not achievable...and that's okay. I can still be a great mom without a JD or that elusive MPH.
I think what spurred this train of thought is a letter that I found. While trying to attempt to get some packing done, I found a letter that I wrote to myself to open when I got married-I was about 16; thank you, Young Womens :) I told myself that I was proud of me and all I had achieved and asked myself questions...about if I had attained all of these goals and dreams I had for myself. They were good goals, great dreams. Maybe a third of the list has happened, the others not so much. I did not do a lot of things that I had thought I would have by now...heck, earlier than now! Some of those goals are not really a priority now, but they were in the forefront of my mind at 16. They are things that I will not keep on my list. If I could, I would go back and tell that 16 year old Niki to write more goals, simple ones like, "Be Happy".
It is no use living in the past, but I do like to think of the future. What will I be like in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? Will I have the same goals? Will I learn to just live in the moment and stop thinking about the next step? I think that we can get so consumed in our daily routines that all of these things that we wanted for ourselves just kind of get lost. We change and goals get replaced with new ones. I think we just need to take time every now and then to reflect on what we want to be like today. Not when we get married, have kids, get that job, buy a house, have grandchildren, etc. Today, I want to be peaceful. Tomorrow it can be something else.