Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby Steps...



I have been thinking about “baby steps” a lot, lately. 
Even though I detest “New Year’s Resolutions”,this year I found myself at a point of taking a sort of inventory, looking at what I’d been doing and where I am heading.  Part of my inclination toward inventory may have something to do with the fact that my “nest” is in transition with my youngest kid finishing up his senior year in high school (yet I refuse to categorize myself as headed anywhere near the “empty nest”-trauma-induced mid-life-crisis depression that some people claim to fall into when they are no longer functioning in the role as “full-time mother”… I’ve been out of that role for some time).  This transitioning nest is a much calmer one that it was a few years ago.  The quiet it provides has allowed me to pursue my goals of becoming what I want to be, now that I officially feel like a “grown-up”, but I am not exactly sure what that will look like once this pursuit has been completed (is it ever completed!!!).

I would love to have a black and white shop drawing of what it is that this life of mine will look like a year or 5 from now, but there is no way of knowing, for sure.  In helping to guide my first kid through the typical “end of high school decisions” about what she would do next, I realized that her lack of a clear vision for her future was beginning to immobilize her.  Unlike some kids who know they want to be doctors or veterinarians or teachers from birth, most often, we don’t really know what we want to be until we have had some experiences that can help us decide, sometimes through trail and error.  Even then, what we “are” continues to evolve and change over time.  I realized that she was afraid to make a decision for fear that it would be set in concrete, forcing her to stay a course that might not turn out to be the “right” one for her.  We encouraged her to take a “baby-step” (What About Bob is full of great ideas, though I do not recommend the “death therapy” as a cure for anything but living…) toward something – anything – and go from there.  Just like the dotted-line routes from point A to point B, taken by the kids in the comic strip “Family Circus”, her steps have gone around and through and underand over lots of things to get her to where she is now, and I expect her route will most likely continue to look like that. 
Learning that (through trial and error) with the first kid has helped us guide the other two without being surprised by the “deer-in-the-headlights” moments or the sometimes chaotic swirly, round about paths that their footprints leave behind.

I just need to remember that principal for myself, as well.  I am continually taking these “baby steps” – just trying to put one foot out to keep moving forward toward what, exactly, I can’t fully see; yet, I still want to know what step #29 will look like, and then I try to anticipate step #1,467 in relation to what step #29 might be.  I have thought I might need an appointment with Dr. Leo Marvin to help set me on the right course, but he ended up wheel-chair bound in a catatonic state at the end of the movie…maybe he should have taken his own advice…

Baby-steps…baby-steps…

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