Monday, November 15, 2010

Confessions of a Late Bloomer

I remember having a conversation with my brother, at the beginning of this arduous educational journey as a single mother.  He pointed out to me, that we come from a family of late-bloomers.  After all, our father, (a retired chemical engineer) didn't speak a word until he was 4 years old and he turned out to be a smarty pants.  I've carried this simple statement with me and pondered on it often. 

I married young, had children young, and grew up in the middle of raising a child who taught me that strength comes in many packages.  I did my first ever race at age 33, am now a single mother, college student, triathlete, and most recently started taking voice lessons because when I grow up, I want to know how to sing.  So ya, I'd say I fall in the late-bloomer category.

Chem Lab.  That's my lab partner Josh who is a phenomenal athlete and in no way, suffers from late-bloomerism.
 So what is it that constitutes the order in which you're supposed to progress through life?  What is the purpose of this order, and who and what does it serve?  Is it worse or less efficient if you do things out of order? What affect, ultimately, does the order in which you progress through life have on your overall experience?

One side effect is that you end up dressing like this and having friends like these who don't see anything wrong with it.
 There seems to be an acceptable manner in which people play out adulthood.  Go to college, get married, launch a successful career while simultaneously having 2 1/2 perfectly healthy children, retire and go live out your days with your spouse in some warm place.  The thing is, decision making is hard.  Making decisions not only about your own life, but those included and affected by your life, is difficult.  Who doesn't want an outline?  So, many follow the provided outline because it's safe, it's a great recipe for success, and let's face it, it's the fairy tale.  And everyone loves a good fairy tale.  However, in all reality, many a folk discover themselves in their 40's, acquire their dream job on the cusp of retirement, have sex before love, marriage before maturity, and career before knowledge.  So,why is there this pressing need to do things in order?  What I think, is that when we do things in order, life unfolds like a delicate silk scarf.  And when one decides to do things out of order, life unfolds like an old cardboard box with all kinds of trinkets and crap wedged in the crevices of the box.  It's not neat, it's not pretty, and you never know what's going to come flying out at you next.  I know this, because I am clearly not following the standard life outline. I made a one-winged oragami bird out of that perfectly crafted outline, and just lit it on fire!

This little one provides me with matches, and regular reminders that life is fun, and funny.   And let me tell you, there's a lot to laugh at in my little world.  Especially with friends like these.
 I'll admit: it's tough being a single mom and going to school full-time.  It's scary sometimes knowing that I'm the only one responsible for my triumph or failure, that there's no one to catch me if I fall. But the fun in this is, I am charting my own course, and making my own outline while learning along the way.  There are all kinds of scribbles and arrows all over my paper, and it doesn't even resemble an outline.  It's got coffee spilled on it, a few post-it-notes, and of course, lots of random doodling.  But it's mine, and I can write whatever I want on it.  The thing is, no matter how hard one tries, your plan is never going to be perfect. No matter how meticulously stacked our papers are, the wind is gonna blow.  And really, do you want it to be perfect?  Who wants to watch a movie in which they can always predict what happens in the next scene? I've learned not only to "go with it", but to slow down, stop, and take a look around.  There are times when I do this and feel completely overwhelmed by the greatness of life, and wanna cry.  And other times, when I just get a mischievous smirk and shake my head.  Not many dull moments on this course I'm charting. I am settling in, and learning that it's not all about finishing what I've started, but taking in as much as I can along the way. I've learned that 'difficult' is a relative term, and that you can catch up on sleep, homework, and housework, but you can't catch up on being a mother.  And of course, if something scares the shit out of you, stop...ask yourself why, and then do it.  I have found that the things in life that scare me the most, are the ones that I reap the greatest reward from overcoming.

I race because I like how it feels on the other side of the finish line, much more than I like the comfort and safety of the sidelines.
 So, if there's something you want to do, but you're not doing it because you think you're too old, it'll be too hard, or people will make fun of you...I'm here to tell you: you're not, it won't be, and they will!  This is to all those late bloomers out there.  Get your arm in the air, and let that freak flag fly!

He forgot to put his game face on.  Good thing I had mine.
A little plug:  Our elite women's running team put together a running calendar to raise money for Active4Youth which supplies under-privileged children with the opportunity to be coached and run.  Please buy one!  Who doesn't need a calendar??

 "You will turn over many a futile new leaf till you learn we must all write on scratched-out pages."  ~Mignon McLaughlin


Kelli Rydeen and Family said...

Thank you. :)

Jen said...

Great, great post! You're amazing!

Jodi said...

What's wrong with the way we dress? I happed to think the skinny chicken is HOT like that, lol. ;) said...

Awesome post, P! Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was way more fun than that dang monorail anyway, right?!

Adrianne said...

I'll be around to catch you if you fall. It'll be a rough landing, you will probably break your collar bone and I'll be knocked out for a few minutes. But we'll make it.

Rene Guerrero said...

Great post Pheadra!
I admire your strength, spiritualism and humor. It is all about the journey!...sometimes we just forget. Thanks for the reminder.

Troy Nelson said...

No words of advice, only support.

Laura and company said...

Oh, Phaedra. It's good to color outside the lines, I agree. Great post, many deep thoughts. You're courageous, smart, and funny. I'm proud to call you my friend.

Triathlete23 said...

You have to try the brand new application for the iPhone to keep track of your training and races. Definitely the best one I have seen.

It's called 220 TriLog.

iTunes Link:

Frances said...

You go girl!