Friday, August 7, 2009

Growing Up


So the first time I went to college I was not a good student. I was too immature, too distracted, too...interested in boys? There just seemed to be so many other exciting life experiences to be had and making it to 8 am class wasn't high on that list. Plus I am not good at change. And I like to be home. And I didn't know what I wanted to "be"...besides a wife and mom. I was still becoming myself, so I wasn't sure how to figure out how to decide what vocation to commit to. Yikes.

I took floral design, interior design, theater make-up, drawing, cooking, and guitar classes in an effort to follow my interests and passions. None of those things seemed like "serious" enough paths to be respectable. So I switched gears, took Myers Briggs tests, spoke to counselors, and settled between Landscape Architect or Recreational Therapy. I picked Recreational Therapy...which is a real thing. It was interesting and fun. I got to work with children, put my tye-dye booth organizing skills to work, and earn a Bachelors Degree while finding a husband and growing up a bit. About half-way through the program I had grown up enough to realize that I actually wanted to be a nurse.

Maybe I was still chasing respectability. Maybe I was disappointed in myself for not realizing my academic potential. Maybe I was tired of trying to explain what a Recreational Therapist does. For sure I was still trying to figure out who I was.

So the second time I went to college, I was a marginally better student. Nursing school was intense. I still had a hard time sitting through hours of lecture, but I found I was suited for the subject matter and liked working with and caring for people. I was married--more settled--more sure. I graduated again.

Although I learned a ton and grew immensely while working as a nurse in the NICU, I won't lie...I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when I finally quit when I was about 7 months pregnant with Avery. I hadn't realized how emotionally taxing that job was while I was in the throws of it. I told them when I quit that I'd likely come back. I knew that I wouldn't.

So here I am, 28 (can that be right?), the mother of a 15 month old, and still trying to figure out what I want to be. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to spend my time so that when I am 95, looking back on my life I won't regret too many things. I have grown up enough now to realize that its never too late to be the person you could have been (I totally read that on a billboard...but I believe it.) and to not really care if people think that my vocation is respectable. I have grown up enough also to realize that time is valuable and should not be wasted on things that are not getting me closer to becoming that person.

What I really want to do with my time is be home with my baby and make things. And it'd be nice if there were a way to do both, and also make some money.

And so I am going back to college this fall for the 3rd time (you know what they say about the 3rd time!). I have a feeling I'll pay more attention to my class and spend more time studying my text-book. I am taking a pattern making class, and I couldn't be more excited.

Because I am old enough to do what I really want to-- Old enough to have realized that, "who I am," will take my whole life-time to become. And although I am a sort of chubby, almost thirty-year-old mom, who hasn't taken any prerequisites, joining a class with a whole bunch of really stylish 20-year-old aspiring fashion designers...I am old enough not to care.

Wish me luck!


  1. Way to go Danielle! Carpe diem! Or in this case seize your life and do what makes you happy! I love when people figure out who they want to be and learn new things in the process! I am excited for you.

  2. good for you!!

    isn't it funny how our goals change so much as we actually start pursuing them? i majored in English planning to go to law school. and then I was a TA for particle physics and realized i loved teaching. then I minored in business and realized that what I was really passionate about was finance, but that I was supposed to go to grad school in English. and so here I am as an English professor, but my plan is to go back to school and get another degree in finance so I can teach that instead. although I would also like to open a bakery, so we'll see.

    seriously, way to go you for pursuing your passion!

  3. Love this and love you for doing it. I was thinking the other day how I wish I could go back to college again because I know exactly what I would want to do this time. And maybe I will!

  4. I think I found you through Katrina but that's neither here nor there. I had to comment because recreational therapist=me too. Except I let my licensure lapse this year and my certification runs out at the end of December. I fell into it by default just like you. And I hate trying to explain what it is I do. Or did. Whatever.

    I've thought about nursing school a lot, and going back to school in general has been on my list of desires for so long.

    If I could only figure out what for we'd be in good shape...

    I liked this post tremendously. Mostly because I RELATE.

    Also, I have to figure out what to do with my kid while I go to class. This could be a problem.

  5. I just have one thing to say about this: I wish I lived in Salt Lake City so that I could babysit Avery while you are in class!

    If I were going to say another thing it would be: Go get 'em bellyboo! and yahoo! hooray!

  6. Nice picture,nice post, and you are NOT chubby.I think the twenty somethings will be in awe of all of the things you have created in your etsy store along with your genuine kindness,sharp humor and creativity.
    It will be refreshing & fun for both you and Avery to have a little time out of the house. OX, Mom
    ps. I just love Autumn. I remember the sounds of children playing at recess when we lived on Willow Glen, and all the trick-or-treater's we would get after the Halloween carnival.Just picked a bunch of blackberries,making cobbler,I digress.

  7. First off, maybe you should go back to school a 4th time to write a book :)

    Good luck with going back this fall. That's awesome.

    Laughed when I read that describing TR got old. I try to veer away from the fact that I graduated in it :(

    I loved the post on co-sleeping. It was great. It's getting harder for me to hear my inner mother voice with all these little boys running around. All I have to say to you... is invest in a bigger bed!

  8. Danielle - you are awesome! You're going to blow those 20-somethings out of the water in your class!!!

  9. You will totally rock your class and show those 20 year olds where its at! ;-) I still get to watch Avery, right?

  10. I can't wait to see you whip up. And didn't you hear, 30 is the new 20. So you're still, like, 18.

  11. Good luck Danielle! you will do great!!

  12. i'm so proud of you.
    can't wait to hear all about your class.

    miss you so much.


  13. I'm sure you will show up all those 20 year olds. My sister is about to graduate in recreational therapy so I actually know what it is. And, I totally know what you mean about worrying that what you do isn't respectable. When I decided to go to beauty school I was really worried that it wasn't a respectable profession for a Doctor's wife, but I love what I do and can work from home so I just don't care anymore. I would love to go back to school though and take some sewing classes!

  14. Good luck! I'm glad you found something stimulating. XO


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