Growing up should be optional   Leave a comment

So, there I was, moments ago, having a typical early morning conversation.. with myself.  I don’t know where the voice comes from, or how the thoughts decide to arrive, but there they are, and it’s like I’m truly trying to have a conversation about whatever topic has been planted in my head.  It’s a bit awkward, when my family is awake, and they are hearing me thru the bathroom door, mumbling, and wondering who I’m talking to.  This morning, it was the reality of how I’m not truly living.  I’m merely existing in this world, getting by, day by day.  A means to an end.  In my heart & in my mind.. I would have been.. an artist.  A musician.  A writer.  I am NONE of the above.  I lost imagination & creativity when I hit junior high school.  I blame society for this, putting pressure on children to “grow up”.  It’s true, as a child, I was never artistically talented, but it didn’t stop me from joining choir, and singing my heart out, even if it was off key and horribly bad.  I even took a stab at drawing.  Let’s just say, that didn’t last long.  I was one of the so called, “smart kids”, put in special classes for advanced thinkers.  It ruined me.  Or, I should say, it killed my inner child, who was.. really, still.. just a child. Not that I didn’t still enjoy school, but had they not stopped my creativity, who knows where I might have taken my life?  Maybe I would have been an artist, or musician, or writer, but now, we’ll probably never know.  My saving grace, is reading.  I love to read, and it’s an escape into another world.  When you can visualize what you read, and sit there laughing, crying, or screaming, and your family wonders what is going on, you get the weirdest looks when you explain, it was just something you read in the book you’re reading.  Thankfully, I think my youngest daughter gets this.  She shares my love of books, and we share most of the same books.

So, I’m rambling again.  I meant to go on about my own children, and how proud I am of what they are becoming, regardless of what expectations are put on them by society.  I want them to follow their dreams, and their passion.  You like art, I will happily buy you art supplies.. paint, brushes, pencils, paper, canvas, beads, styrofoam, whatever you want to work with, that you can express yourself with.  They both love music.. and would both LOVE private music lessons.  Sadly, this I cannot afford.  They both took a year of piano in high school, and wish they could continue taking lessons, and that is just not something I can do.  Marissa has shown interest in many instruments (much as I’d have liked to learn while growing up as well), and for about 6 months, taking guitar lessons in a group setting.  While she’d still prefer piano at this point, I’m thrilled that the adult education classes in our town offered this inexpensive intro to guitar class. For only $45.00, she received 12 hours of lessons in a small group setting. She’s done 4 sessions like this, and we plan to do more.  Alex took cake decorating classes from Wilton, also offered through our adult & community education classes.  That ended up costing a LOT more than we’d have thought, due to the extras you always end up having to buy.  But, at least it was spread out over several months.

I don’t understand why the schools push these kids to choose their career path, when they are 13 years old.  Before high school, they have to decide a career path, in which they will plan out their 4 years of high school & required core classes in order to graduate.  Alex chose “the arts”, and that wasn’t too bad, her electives were one she truly enjoyed, but her other core classes she was required to take, were beyond what she will likely ever need.  They did it as though she planned to attend a 4 year or more college, and she doesn’t even know if she will do that yet.  She’s basically been miserable most of her 4 years of high school, and it’s just sad.  Marissa, having a love of animals, thought she’d like to be a veterinarian some day.  So, her classes include electives in the agriculture field.  She misses chorus.  There’s not enough time to fit it in her schedule, since she is not in the arts.  She has so many wide and varied interests, she can’t fit all the classes she’d like to take in her 4 years of high school.  But now, her 2nd year in, she’s not sure if she really wants to be a vet, just because she loves animals.  But she is stuck taking those courses, or if she changes them, will not have the core credits she needs to graduate, due to the electives she is forced to take by choosing a career at the age of 13.  This, is RIDICULOUS.  I want my children to be children.  I want them to enjoy what they are doing, and have fun.  They have time to grow up later.  When I got to high school, we were required our core classes of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies.  We also had health & gym.  Anything else was pure elective.  Yes, prior to this, I’d been enrolled in extra classes for the so called “smart” students.  I decided to ditch that, and try to have fun in high school.  I may have lost my creative spark, but  I enjoyed high school, because I got to do things that I wanted to do.  I had all the credits I needed to graduate, and room for some fun too.  Now, there’s no room for fun.  And that’s just sad. I’m trying my best to make sure that my girls have some creative outlet, but it’s not always easy.  I work much too far from home to have anything but weekends available. And weekends is when I catch up on laundry, shopping, cleaning, and being taxi service to my kids when they need to go to the allergist, guitar lesson, friend’s house, or art supply / book store run (because, of course, we live in a town that has NOTHING, and we have to travel 20 miles this way, or 30 miles that way, to get to anything.)  I blink, and I’ve missed the weekend.  If I’m lucky, I’ve done something good for my family.. but I’m always left out of that.  Back to my sentiment.. I’m merely existing.    I just hope that my children are able to find their passion, and do something with it.  In my heart, I still dream of being a musician, or a writer.  But I can’t read music, and I swear I’m tone deaf.. and to write, well, you see how I ramble.  Rambling, does not equal “writing”.

To my children, follow your heart, and follow your dreams, no matter what they say.  Life shouldn’t be about simply existing, but truly, living.

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