What happens to us when we approach…dare I say it…middle age? Why do we become so overwhelmed? Why do we waste time questioning our past choices, our past decisions, and our present selves? Or—as much as I hate to admit it—what if it’s just me? What if I’m in my own pre-perimenopausal world of cynicism, my very own planet filled with mountains of hurdles and oceans of doubt?
Back in September, when I entered the “MORE” magazine modeling contest—purely on a lark, and not expecting anything more than something interesting and fun to blog about—I felt fairly comfortable with myself, my career, and the choices that I’ve had to make throughout the years that led me to where I was at that time. But when I peered through the latest copy of the magazine—the issue that listed all ten finalists, and the three top winners—I felt like such a loser. Not because I wasn’t a finalist in a so-called “beauty” contest. I felt discouraged because the women who won were all successful, self-assured, and at peace with themselves. Out of the ten finalists, four of them were doctors. Count it—four. And one of those four was also an officer in the Air National Guard. Another woman was a world-champion equestrienne who owned her own stables and took breaks by riding her Harley Davidson Sportster (a “beautiful white” one, at that). One was a CEO of a corporate image group; another was a beautiful actress and successful artist. Yet another was the director of a rape care center that she founded in New Jersey, and the grand-prize winner was a former sales director. Oh…and how can I forget…one of the women was the Executive Vice President of Fox Searchlight Pictures—silly me.
I’m not envious of these women. I’m really not. I’m actually proud of them. I’m happy that I’m part of a generation that doesn’t put limits on a woman's ability to achieve her goals. I guess what I feel is a certain amount of frustration. How does one follow their dream when they have a mortgage to pay and they’re responsible for carrying the health insurance for their family through their job? How does a woman continue her education when she works full-time and still has to come home and be a caretaker? You know the routine; making dinners, washing clothes, and doing any of the other eight million blood-sucking, life-force draining errands that we feel responsible for in order to make the house run in a somewhat efficient manner.
Now, I know that they meant well. They truly wanted me to be a success, even if success meant that the highest promotion I could get would still always keep me beneath someone else. I went to school for business, but of course, dropped out before the semester ended. I was given a choice; either stay in school for business, or go to dental assisting school.
Please, mom, let me take art courses. This is what I want to do.
When I was married to my first husband, I had everything I could ever dream of; he was successful, we had a beautiful house, and I had two wonderful children whom I adored. However, I always felt that something was missing; so much so, that I used to cry about it quite often, wondering what was wrong with me. Suffice it to say, when I met and married my second husband, I found that I no longer felt this emptiness—not in my relationship, anyway. Now, there seems to be some kind of drive inside of me. I know I need to be doing something, creating something…working toward some kind of personal success that will get us out of our financial hole and satisfy my desire to be acknowledged for my achievements. The only trouble is that I'm overwhelmed on a daily basis just trying to live life. Not that I'm complaining--I love my life--but I'm not sure how any creative ideas are going to surface if they're constantly being buried by the pressures of work, home, and the fact that there are just not enough hours in one day.
(Footnote: My blogger is being very weird. I have re-edited it a hundred times, and it keeps doing what it wants...it won't let me put spaces where I want to put spaces. I give up!!)