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Identity Crisis?

February 14, 2011

The older I get, the faster time seems to move, and the more I sense that there isn’t going to be enough time.  Time for what?  Everything I want to do and try and see in my life.  When you’re young, the world seems enormous because you only know a very small part of it but you sense the expanse of possibilities beyond your scope of comprehension.  Then you get older, start seeing some more of the world and then realize it is even bigger then you ever imagined.  And there is so much cool stuff to do in it!  But as you start making choices and stepping through doors of opportunity, you realize that you have cut off options that you won’t ever have again.  Maybe this doesn’t bother some people–people who have a different mindset than me.  I don’t want to come across as unsatisfied with my life, because I love the life-path I have chosen (otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen it!) but I am curious about “what could have been.”

There are women who I raced against and beat when we all started racing bicycles in southern CA in 2004-2005.  Now a few of them are on pro teams and have raced in Europe.  Could I have done that well with my cycling career?  Maybe, but I’ll never know.  I don’t regret leaving CA or getting a career or having LM, but a part of my brain is curious as to whether I could have.

I never wanted to join the military.  I admire those who serve, and my brother was in the Army for four years but now I will never know what my life might have been like if I had joined the military right out of high school when I had no idea what I was doing with my life.  Two classes at a crappy community college and a night shift job guided me back to college, but I could have just as easily walked into a recruiters office.  People do it all the time.

Now, I will never join the Peace Corps, get my Ph.D or backpack around Europe (ok, maybe that last one, in 18 years when LM is ready to start her adventures).  Missing out on these things doesn’t send me into a fit of despair, but it makes me realize that I won’t do them in my lifetime, and the fact of the matter is that I only get this one life.  I am one of those people who can get very scared if I think too hard about that phrase, and it has kept me awake more than a few nights.  Just one life?  Better make it good.

I realize I sound kind of flaky, meditating on the “what ifs” of life, but again it doesn’t make me angry or depressed, just curious about what could have been.  I think about “what ifs” in a positive way a lot.  What if I had never been invited to the Mom/Baby group at the Birth and Womens Health Center after LM was born and met all the great women I’ve become friends with? (I literally knew NO ONE with children when LM was born) What if my brother had joined a different cycling team five years ago and I have never become friends with DH (and everything that followed after)?  What if I had selected a different graduate school seven years ago, and hadn’t taken up cycling at all??  What if. . . and the list goes on.  I am very glad all of those possibilities came to pass, because it has brought me to where I am.

There are days when I just want to put LM in day care, go for a three hour bike ride and then go back to work.  But then she crawls over and pulls herself up on my legs and I realize that I couldn’t bear to miss her sweet baby faces, or risk not witnessing her first steps and all her other first experiences.  I am happy to be a mother to LM and her future sibling and all the joys and sacrifices that entails, but part of me will always be curious about what else I might have done with my one life.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of things I want to do, and can do!  I want to become a better knitter.  I want to go under the hour on a 40 km time trial.  I want to successfully grow my own tomatoes (f–ing HARD in the desert).  I want to run a marathon.  I want to write poetry again.  I want to have another baby.  I want to sew a wedding dress.  I want to go to France.  I want to paint the walls of my house.  I want to put on the awesomest bike race my town has ever seen.  I want to be a good mother to my children.  See?  Lots to keep me busy.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2011 11:44 pm

    Part of why we are strongly considering homeschooling is so that once our kids are old enough we can backpack Europe as a family when school is in session and travel is cheaper. That said, just this weekend I was telling DH how in some ways it would be nice to have a weekend just us…but on the other hand I can’t imagine going that long without seeing A. Especially when she’s being as adorable as she was yesterday (I posted about it on my blog if you haven’t read it).

  2. February 17, 2011 4:28 am

    Great story baby. I wish I weren’t a thousand miles away right now and I am glad your brother joined my cycling team (and all that followed after…)

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