So I ask myself what I could've been if I'd wanted to be anything other than what I am. I can do advanced mathematics, what if I'd wanted to go into roller coaster design? I can draw, what if I'd wanted to be a cartoonist? I can cook... where would I be if I'd wanted to be a chef? I am quite capable at the biological sciences... I could've been a dolphin trainer or could've gone to India to study the decline of the tiger population.
I could've done anything. That was what I was always told. Growing up, I had teachers encourage me to study art, linguistics, English, the sciences (biological and social, specifically), history, politics, economics.... No one ever encouraged me to become an actor, even though I'd occasionally audition for parts. So I could've done almost anything.
I became a mom, and dedicated myself to it.
But what if....
Other successful women I know drive new sports cars, live in custom-built new homes, make substantial incomes, have a great benefits package, a good retirement plan, and husbands just as successful as they (or no husbands at all). They have titles after their name, like "vice president of marketing" or "Dr." or "PhD". I have high school, elementary school in common with these women; I did not meet them at their jobs. Chances are we would've had litte to talk about if I had.
Sometimes a dear friend of mine will say "I wish I had what you have. Two kids, the freedom to raise them yourself, a loving husband, and all that goes with it." She says this just before returning to her prestigious job, after we have eaten lunch together according to her busy schedule. I wonder if she really means it, when she vacations for two weeks at a time out of the country in exotic places.
Sure, it's a grass-is-greener thing. I would change places with her, although at the end of the day I would've missed my kids more than the job title and benefits would justify. And maybe it would be the same with her, who knows.
What I do know, when I get to the end of the day, is that no matter how much I've forgotten since my secondary metriculation, no matter how much the world seems to have passed me by, hugs and kisses from my kids make it all worth while.