DO YOU GRIEVE THE PERSON YOU HOPED YOU’D BECOME?
By Jane Dovidio-Gagliardo
As we age, the battles and struggles become real; and we begin to wonder who we could have been if things were different. As we look back at how we handled certain obstacles and challenges 10-15 years ago, for the most part, we could care less about what was or could have been. Maturity? Nope. We get smarter and learn what battles to pick… what battles we believe are worth fighting for. If the bills are paid and food is on the table life is a success. But in your deepest and most private thoughts, do you ever wonder what you could have been or what your life would look like now if you had made different choices or if different choices were made available to you? This is a loaded question, but one I’m sure we all ask ourselves at one time or another.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a surgical nurse. I wanted to join the military and become a nurse. But my dad didn’t believe that women was good for anything except having children. So, he wouldn’t sign the paperwork for me to go into the military. Back in the 50s and 60s, if you were a girl and under 21, your parents had to sign for you. But the guys were considered an adult at 18. Yeah… crazy, I know. But I do not regret having my babies at 17 and getting married soon after. However, I sometimes wonder what I could have/would have been if I had joined the Army. The Viet Nam war was going on at the time. And although the Women in the military were not permitted to be on the frontlines of war, we were permitted to be nurses, work in communications or any type of job that pertained to paperwork or filing. My goodness, how things have changed. I would have loved to have been a part of a MASH unit. I also would have loved to have done any kind of research. You know looking in microscopes or figuring out why and how bacteria grows or viruses start. Yeah, that was me. Lol. But my dad made me take Secretarial courses, typing, shorthand, those types of subjects. The other choice he gave me was to become a beautician. Well, none of those careers interested me.
Ultimately, I got pregnant and got married. Lol. I showed him. About 25% of teenagers who get pregnant have a second child within 24 months of their first child and only 2% of them get a college degree. Kudos to the 2% who do. Yet the males who impregnated a girl have a 22% chance of graduating from college. And interesting enough it is the females who help to financially put them through college. Still, the statistics are low. But despite all of that, do you ever wonder what you could have been had your circumstances been different?
Do you find yourself trying to impress on your children what you could have been and stressing the importance of them being who they are and following their own dreams? Unfortunately, all too often, our children have dreams and their dreams become our reality. Then suddenly, their dreams change. But because we, on occasion, grieve the person we could have been, we want to make sure our children don’t fall into the trap of grieving who they could have become. And it’s because we wonder how different our own lives would have been that we strive so hard to keep our children focused and moving forward toward their own dreams and goals. As loving parents, we DO NOT want them to grieve who/what they could have been. I guess wondering who we could have been and what our lives would look like, if things had been different, is an age-old question and challenge we all experience at one time or another. As you contemplate on this week’s message, I leave you with this quote… “The Future Depends on What We Do In The Present.” (Mahatma Gandhi) Stay Safe. Stay Strong. Stay Fearless.