Friday, February 04, 2005

My Life B.C.

I was commenting on another blog re: test taking. This brought back a ton of memories about my life in college, and what I was like back then, Before Children.

I went to a community college my first summer out of high school. Why waste any time getting on with life? I had 2 jobs. I knew I wanted to be a Physical Therapist from day 1, and that was my goal, no matter what. I had chosen that career for completely practical reasons. The requirements fit my apptitudes, the schooling wasn't too long (at that time a B.S.), and the salary was acceptable should I remain single. Never would "need" a man, no sir, not me. I went about acheiving this goal with single-minded purpose. I lived at home to conserve money. Had 2 to 3 jobs at a time and baby-sat on the side. I was accepted into the PT program first try, which I found out later, was rare. I drove 75 minutes each way once I was done with the community college and moved up to the 4 year college. I regularly carried a 21 credit hour load. My internships were often 2 hours away, driving every day. I often had to decide to eat or buy gas, and my car was so old, I had to carry anti-freeze in the trunk to refill the chronic leak in my heating coil. I had two miracles that allowed me to continue my course of study. Both were regarding the GPA requirement, and my nearness to falling below the mark. Both times the grades were curved to the exact point I needed to stay in.

I graduated with many job offers, and chose one in Topeka, KS. I worked 10 hours a day generally, although salaried, we were paid for 8. I absolutely, beyond a doubt loved that job. Now I find this to be shocking, considering the totally rational reasoning behind this career choice. This was not a passion for me. This was not my "dream". But I loved it and all the people I worked with. I literally would feel their pain. At home, I would think about the people and their problems and come up with plans for their care.

On a personal note, I didn't date much, as I just didn't fit into the dating scene. Most people my age where still in college, switching majors like changing shoes, and had no interest in any serious dating. And I wasn't into "just for fun".

I spent many weekends without uttering a single word to another human being. I lived next to a cemetary, and would take my daily walks through the trails and read the headstones, and imagine who these people were. I said lots of prayers for the dead, and since this wasn't a Catholic cemetary, it might be the only prayers they ever had said for them. I lived a short walk from an awesome old park, with lots of walking trails, rose gardens, a carosal and a zoo. I would walk there all the time and notice the children, and wonder if I would ever have any. I would go out to eat alone, and bring a book for a companion. I would go to movies alone and sit in the back, so I could leave right away, before anyone noticed I was alone. For entertainment, I would go the library and check out books about architecture and fill pages with drawings and notes, as if I were in school, and dream of the day I would go to Europe. I wanted to know the styles and names before I saw them in person. I bought a writing guide book, with 20 writing excercises in it, and finished 7 or 8 of them. I bought a key board, and learned how to play the piano poorly. I bought lots of cookbooks and art supplies, and spend many hours cooking and painting, and to this day love looking through the kind of cookbook where the author draws or paints as well as writes.

I would invite people over for dinner frequently, and enjoyed company, but was equally happy when I was sipping wine, listening to classical, blues, jazz, country or bluegrass, while chopping vegetables for a dinner for 1. I always set the table, and ate to music. I rarely watched T.V. I was a regular at the library, and read 3-5 books a week. I would pack up on a whim, and drive home to IL to visit the folks. With my PT friends I would go to street dances all summer, week-end after week-end, in many of the small towns in Western KS. After a year or so, my PT friends and I took turns hosting one dinner a week end, and suddenly there were no more silent week-ends. And suddenly I got very lonely. Heart rendingly lonely.

In another few months, I decided to move to IL to be with by my family, and once here, I met my dh, and was married within a year. On the one year anniversary of our first date, we were married, and I was pregnant with our first child. That was 12 years ago, and now I have 7 kids.

I spend my time caring for the people God has sent to me, just like I did when I was a PT. I don't have as much time to fill as I once did, but art, music, cooking, and reading are all still a large part of my life, and I get to share them with my kids. At times I still get very lonely, but now I try to realize that is God giving me my own private dessert in which to encounter Him and His will.

Sometimes I crave the silent order of my single life. I know why I was at peace, because I had a slow paced, contemplitive life style. It kept me together, even though I am naturally quite disorganized. Now, I have very little time to think, and as I am managing 9 people, it is a struggle to stay on top of it all. I am a much better homemaker now than I was, and I am more organized. It seems, though, that the quantity of life always slightly exceeds my skill set. But that's a different post. Good night.


Blogger Philothea Rose said...

I used to get so stressed and anxious over the chaos of being a wife and at-home mom, but I think it was because I was still clinging to the freedom of my single life. Once I let go, I found so much more peace. I think what did it is the thought of what I wouldn't have if I still had the free single life, and that's my kids. The lack of freedom may cause me some stress, but the lack of my children breaks my heart and brings me to tears!

February 05, 2005  
Blogger Kalanna said...

I like your writing. I have a friend in real life with seven children and i think she's a saint. you sound like one too.

we only have two children. we just haven't been given any more, and I've wished for more thinking it would validate my stay at home life more somehow. but it's still just the four of us and i'm still at home, so i'm happy and settling more now.

anywho, thanks for the post. :)

February 05, 2005  

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