Monday, June 29, 2015

Change in Plans

Lately, in response to moving yet again within Southern California, a place I hadn't intended to inhabit longer than the four years I attended college, I have been reflecting on the path that got me to where I am, as well as where I had hoped to be now. Ultimately, a lesson I've learned over the last eight or nine years, despite trying desperately to ignore it, is: Plans change. Roll with it.

I thought I would move "home"--back to the Bay Area, near my family--after graduating from UCLA. But Terry and I had been dating a year at that point and already knew we were in it for the long haul. He wouldn't graduate for another year and a half, so I stayed in LA to be with him. After he graduated, he accepted an excellent, stable (important, given that it was 2008 and a rough time to be graduating) job that would allow him to earn his Master's degree (completely paid for by the company!). Naturally, those benefits were too wonderful and financially sound to turn down, so again we stayed. Years later, we're still grateful for Terry's job, which has allowed us to start our home (er, multiple homes), travel the world, start a family, and be a single-working-parent household.

Speaking of which, I never imagined I would be a stay-at-home mom, and certainly not for over a year! I always heard that teaching was the ideal profession for having a family, because there's "so much" time off and the hours are aligned with children's school hours, obviously. Alas, for me,  there is no way I could have continued teaching the way I did (at least as a full-time high school English teacher; I cannot speak for other teachers) and balanced having a newborn/infant. So for us, although at first it was not a planned decision, my staying home was the right one. There are a LOT of days when I panic about a future career, about finances, about having an identity outside of my family. But for now, it's working out to have me at home, so we're going to see where it leads us, and if the right job comes along I'll be grateful for the opportunity.

I always envisioned that we would follow a more traditional path as far as our home life: move to a more suburban area, buy a house, adopt a dog, then have a baby. Instead, we still live in the city, we rent and don't see ourselves buying anytime soon (see previous paragraph), we have a cat but no dog (and our place won't allow the latter), and we had a baby before any of that other stuff. Of course, I'd love to own instead of rent, but the rest of the original plans are far less important to us right now. We love the city, we love our new apartment and neighborhood, we love our cat, and we definitely wouldn't change a thing about having Marshall!

For a long time, I let myself feel upset about the fact that we didn't seem to be making any progress on the goals I had set so long ago. But I'm realizing that I need to be flexible in my goals and allow any curve balls life throws at us to become part of the plan, not necessarily an obstacle.

Truthfully, now that we live in a neighborhood we love (walking distance to everything! families playing catch in their front yards! dogs everywhere!), we are really embracing the present. More importantly, I'm trying to be less focused on the future and goals and achieving some arbitrary definition of success. Instead, I want to enjoy our new apartment in our cute neighborhood--who cares when we'll finally own a place? (Well, okay, we still care, but you get the idea.) I want to soak in my son's first years instead of panicking about the fact that I don't have a job. I want to snuggle up with our cat at night and love on our nephew dogs and my parents' new puppy instead of wondering when we'll get our own.

It's been easy to focus on the negative for too long, but I have a wonderful life. For the first time in a very long time, I'm actually appreciating the present instead of worrying about the future.

What plans have changed for the better in your life?


  1. i always look at change for the better - whether it's my choice or not - i am a true believer in everything happens for a reason - even if it's tough to understand at the time being

  2. Sometimes we don't get what we want and it's for the better!