Today is my 49th birthday and I sit here wondering how I got to this place in life. My life is certainly not the one I thought I would have all those years ago in school. As a little girl, I wanted to be a mother, a ballerina, a princess or a famous singer. In high school, I wanted to be popular, thin, to make good grades and to find the love of my life. By graduation I wanted to be an architect or interior designer. Through all of that, I wanted to be loved and to be a mom. Now, I don’t know what I want to be or who I’m supposed to be.
In high school, I never dated much. I had a handful of first dates that turned into nothing and I had 3 real boyfriends: Charlie, Cisco and Jeff. Each relationship lasted less than 6 months and each of them seemed to get over me very quickly. It was much harder for me as I tended to wear my heart on my sleeve and I longed to find my true sweetheart like all the girls on TV did. It seemed that all of my friends always had boyfriends while I rarely went to school dances because I didn’t have a date. To this day, I’ve never really understood why I didn’t date more. Or I guess I’ve never understood why I wasn’t asked on more dates because I certainly would have gone if asked.
I was a pretty good high school student and got into a very good college, however I was never a super serious collegiate, at least not until the end. I wanted to be an interior designer or architect, but I then changed my major 3 times and it took me 7 years to get my degree. After graduating, I worked here and there – for a home health agency, for an apartment management company and for a national dance and cheer company. Through all of those jobs, I was bored. I realized that what I was doing really didn’t matter in the big scheme of things. I mean, in 10 years, who was going to care if nurse A or nurse B took the on-call shift, or if the apartment complex had a heated pool or what color t-shirts we sold at the cheer competitions? So, I decided to go back to school to get my teaching credentials. I now hold a BBA with minors in English and Interior Design, as well as my Texas Teaching Certification. Quite the eclectic mix, I guess. I’ve been a high school English teacher for 21 years, and I can say I’ve loved most of it. But it certainly isn’t what I thought I would be doing when I was 18.
In college, I had one serious boyfriend named Geoff. I was deeply in love with him – much more than he was with me. I wanted to get married – he wanted to party. Needless to say, after 4 years, it ended badly. This was not what I had planned when I was in high school. Where was my white picket fence? Where were my 2 kids – one boy, one girl? Where was my perfect family and perfect life? All I had ever wanted was to be married and to be a mom. And yet, I was now in my mid 20’s with none of that perfect life on the horizon. Hell, it wasn’t even in the next time zone. So, I dated a bit, but never had a serious adult relationship until I met David, Peyton’s dad. I fell for him on our second date when he took me to the park. I had papers to grade and really thought I should stay home, but he insisted. He read a book while I worked and we got to know each other. It was beautiful. But even then, we were off and on. After two and a half years of dating, we got married in 1999. I had just turned 33. I was very old to be a first time bride, but I hoped that this would finally be the start to the life I’d envisioned.
After 2 years of marriage, Peyton was born. There was still no picket fence, but we did have a nice, albeit modest, home. We were happy for a little while. We stayed married for four and a half more years and divorced in 2006. Sadly, I’ve now been divorced longer than I was married. Since the divorce, I’ve had a few dating forays and 2 decent relationships, but neither of them amounted to anything. But, I put all of that on the back burner and focused on being a mom. It was always my biggest desire and, to tell the truth, I had always secretly wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I often wonder now if things would have turned out differently if I had been.
In 2010, Peyton and I moved from Houston to Austin to be closer to my family. In the 5 years that I’ve been here, I’ve worked at 2 high schools and I’ve made many acquaintances, but only a couple of really good friends. Most of my closest friends are in Houston and I don’t get to see them very often. I haven’t dated at all. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve had the requisite one date per year. But, when you’re in your late 40’s and all the men you work with are either married or gay, its hard to find Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now. And online dating? That is funny at best and depressing at worst. I’ve tried a few of the sites and have found most men who contact a middle-aged, overweight, teacher have lots and lots of issues – mostly of the Mommy variety. That or they just want to send you pictures of their who-ha’s. Trust me when I say I’ve seen more unsolicited weenie pictures in the last 5 years than anyone would ever want or need.
So, all of this brings me to right now. I’m alone, except for my 2 dogs. I have a wonderful family with my 2 sisters and their families, but now, I’m the Old Maid. I have no husband, no child and I don’t even own my home. My life – my existence- seems temporary. I feel unrooted to anything. I feel like I’m watching some other person go through the minutia of my life while I watch from the sidelines or through a looking-glass. When I had Peyton, I had purpose and my life had meaning. I was the one thing I had always wanted to be. I was a mom. Now, I don’t know what I am. I’m 49 and I’m lost.