Pushing the Reset Button
I took my son and my nephew to the Baltimore Aquarium this weekend. Despite a long trip up there where we got lost in some, um, yeah, scary neighborhoods, it was a fun day. I think the boys had a good time--at the very least, I wore them out, which is always a plus. The National Aquarium is very cool, as far as aquariums go. It's big, but not too overwhelming, and there is lots to see. They even have a cool dolphin show, you know, the kind where the dolphins do tricks and stuff. They even had the trainer dive into the tank with the dolphins, and she got to ride on them, get flipped around by them, even give them loving pats on their snouts. Seriously, it looked like a lot of fun. I sat there thinking, "Hey, how do I get THAT job?" There was also a couple of scuba-divers in the main tank, feeding the fish and swimming with the sting rays. Again, I thought, "Hey, how do I get THAT job?" The boys apparantly thought the same thing, because they both told me that when they grow up, they want to be scuba divers. 5 days later, Jacob is still telling me that, so it definitely made an impression. But, sadly, I was looking at the dolphin trainers, and they all looked 20 something. Maybe 30, but that would be pushing it. I sat there thinking, "Hmm. Missed my chance. Too late. Can't set the reset button now. No way can I be a dolphin trainer." So I started to think about this idea, of pusing the reset button. When is it really too late to redo things in your life? I asked this of my cousin, and he looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Um, after your first kid? Way too late." Of course, this comes from a man who has had more careers than I have shoes, so maybe he doesn't really mean that. Also, in graduate school I knew some women who were totally revamping their lives after having full careers doing something else. One woman had even practiced law, decided that she hated it, and had completely changed course. So, maybe it's possible. None of the women I know who changed direction, however, had little kids. They either had no kids or had children who were older, teenagers and school aged kids. Does that mean that our own life is in a holding pattern for a while as we see our kids through toddlerhood, pottytraining, and that first day of school? Is that when we can push the reset button on our own life goals, when our own children are marginally self sufficient? Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom, I do. I'm not talking about getting my life back, in the sense that I'm lost being a mother. It's just that there are so many things that could be done in this life, so many opportunities, and I'm just wondering when and if mothers are able to take advantage of these opportunities, or if the truth of the matter is that motherhood by it's very nature closes doors. And, if it does close doors (which I think everybody would agree it has to), at what point do those doors open again, if ever? Do we ever get the chance to push the reset button? Maybe what I'm really trying to say here is, "Hey, can I be a 40 year old dolphin trainer?"