A long time ago during a time I like to call, blissful ignorance (aka senior year of college), I set a goal – or rather three goals for myself to achieve by 30.
1. To become a network TV producer.
2. To win an Emmy Award.
3. To have a baby.
The top two were at the forefront of my mind, and the third was just sort on my list, but I wasn’t making a concerted effort to achieve it – just freaking out about how upset I would be if I didn’t have kids. I know, very practical. Anyway, because I was blissfully ignorant, I had no clue how hard it would be to achieve my goals, so I went for them and, certainly in the beginning of my adult life, never even entertained the idea that I would not be able to achieve them. In my mind, they were two huge pillars right on the horizon, and I just needed to figure out how to get to them. The benefit of ignorance and naivety is that I didn’t have a chance to do that lovely self-doubt thing, that turns into talking self out of things.
Oh, and before I continue on, if any of you have noticed that there is a missing component in item 3, yes, you are right. For some reason I always said I wanted a baby by 30, and totally forgot to add the husband to the list. Which is…interesting…
Also interesting, as our good friend Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” have pointed out, you need to be very specific when asking for something from the universe because the universe has a way of giving you EXACTLY what you ask for.
And here is what I got:
1. I became a producer at 26 at a TV network.
2. Our show won an Emmy 3 conseqevtive years I was working on it – and we all received Emmy Awards.
3. And I found out I was pregnant (and very single) 2 days before my 30th birthday, and delivered my daughter 4 months before I turned 31.
Technically – mission accomplished.
Honestly, even before I had my daughter, when I realized that I had achieved my professional goals, I began to frequently ask myself what I wanted to do next. Without a goal, I felt like I was simply cruising along, without an intended direction and I didn’t like it. So, before baby but post producer/Emmy achievement, I decided that instead of setting my sites on a huge long term goal (because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what that was), I would focus on a short term goal…and train for and run the New York City Half-Marathon.
So I trained, and I ran. Slowly, but I ran.
And my sisters made a very funny sign (or a sign that they thought was very funny).
Then I decided to run another one in March…because, well, I still hadn’t come up with any other goals so I figured I’d keep achieving this one over and over again until I came up with a plan.
Yes…I was very early on in my pregnancy in the photo above…and I ran, shaved a minute off of my mile, and planned to run another one 6 weeks later. Only little snag was that soon after finding out I was pregnant, I had terrible cramping, and my doctor suggested I pass on the 3rd half-marathon.
And for the next 2 1/2 years I went into survival mode. No big goals here folks, just trying to get by without absolutely coming undone. I focused on the basics for Ellie and myself: food, shelter, clothing and love. There were some really, really, really hard days that left me feeling completely defeated, overwhelmed and angry.
But now that a number of things have settled down a bit, and I feel like I am getting the hang of this “full-time working mom that happens to be single” thing, I started to ponder – What’s Next? all over again. And while I wait for the Universe to deliver exactly what I asked for in my most recent list (which includes but is not limited to: a husband, Ellie and I staying healthy for at least the next 60 and 80 years respectively and the return of my 21-year-old ass), in the meantime, I figured I should pick up where I left off.
I have started running again. Most of the time, to Ellie’s dismay, she is along for the ride.
Some of the time, family or neighbors watch her. But all of the time – despite the logistical difficulties of training for half marathon in NYC while raising a toddler by myself – I have my sites set on the finish line of the New York City Half-Marathon (which will take place in March).
I needed to tap into that blissful ignorance once again…so for the foreseeable future, I will focus on that finish line – and finding a way to achieve it.