Thursday, April 26, 2012

How Old, Momma?

When Emily requests to do things that she cannot do, I prefer to give her a "yes" answer rather than say no.  For many things, this is easily done as I place an age limit, like driving. Emily knows she is welcome to drive when she is sixteen (and has a permit/license).

Without my prompting, she has taken this into her own hand by placing an age for everything she wants to do: eat as much candy as she wants, stay up late, chew gum, etc.

As I listen to her dialogue, I wonder how often I've done this myself. Claiming inability to do something because of my age or choosing to back out of an opportunity because the timing wasn't right.

Yet, I have done so many things out of the traditional "order."  I got married young (at 20), had my first at 21 and my second at 22 all while finishing my undergraduate education - which I completed in 3 years.  During this time, despite encouragement from many faculty members, I chose to stay home rather than pursue a graduate degree thinking I could do that after the kids were in school.

And then I had an epiphany.

Will timing ever be right?  Wasn't that why I had kids young in the first place, because I realized that no time would be easier than another?  Why not apply this same idea to my educational and vocational desires?

So I'm trying to change my way of thinking.  This might mean going to excess in pursuit of this dual life at first, but hopefully things will balance out in the next decade or so.

{Five for Five Day 4: Age}


  1. Oh how this resonates. I was a little older (but still younger than I wanted to be) when I had my first child at 25. Married the same year (after being engaged for 3 years) and I finished college, but I decided to stay home with the children until they were in school full time. Now I find that age and experience have pushed me past what I once wanted to do for a career. I'm going back to school next fall. I'm 32.

    Life is not what you expect, it is what you make of it.

    This post made me smile. I feel the very same as you do. You do with your time what you must and the rest will fall in line. No expectations. Just trust.


  2. Sometimes I wonder how much my self-imposed age restrictions are holding me back. There's so much I don't do anymore because I'm "too old" now. For instance, I used to see live concerts all the time and now I can't seem to justify the expense (tickets + gas + parking + the sitter) or the time required. But the real reason? "I'm too old to sit out in the grass all night." Age should be just a number because, you're right, timing is both objective and unpredictable.

  3. There is never a right time. Just when you do it.

  4. The way you time things is your choice, and I think you did just fine :)

  5. It's so difficult to live in your own life and not be overly burdened by the details of how others have done things (differently). There is no right way. There is the way that is best for you (or me or or or). Keep going where you're going and when. It will get you to where you want and need to be.

  6. As others have said, there is no right answer. Everyone has to figure out their path. When I had little kids, I felt more anxious to do stuff. I think it was because those early years can be so taxing and the adjustment to full-time mom from full-time career woman wasn't always easy. Now that mine are older, I feel more anxious about enjoying the time I have with them still under my roof. Someday I think I might go back to school, and I'm missing a lot of professional opportunities, but I'm content waiting. It sounds annoying now to hear, I know, but they really do grow up fast. ;)

    But I also have friends who did what you are doing. For example, a friend got her master's while her kids were little. She'd go to class while they napped and at night. She's glad she did because she's seen how much teenagers need their mommas. My sister got two degrees over several years while having her first four kids.

    Lastly, to round out the examples, I have a friend who graduated with her college degree at age 50. She "walked" with one of her children.

    There is no one right answer, no one right way.

  7. Those age expectations - that start out so innocently, even valiantly, can becoming limiting.

    There are some natural (physical) implications (conceiving is statistically harder when you're older, for example; and energy stores for big kids/teens are a bit lower when you're older), but otherwise?

    I say screw the "shoulds" and take things more as they come. My own mother got her B.A. when she was 42 years old - after 10 years of going part time and raising kids / running a household. Then she went into the workforce. Different days, I know... but how much has changed, in some ways?

    She also took up Japanese - yes - Japanese, in her mid 60s. Studied and spoke it and loved doing so, for the rest of her life.

    Screw the shoulds! Learning in particular is lifelong.

  8. Susan O'HaraMay 1, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Yes I agree. Why do it later if you can do it now, right? Glad that you finally found yourself. Do all you desire so there'll be no regrets.^^


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