29-year-old NYC single mommy; Three time Columbia University Alumna (BA in Psychology; MA and EdM in Psychological Counseling); Educator by day, Freelance Writer/Blogger by night; Stylista at heart; My life is filled with all things pink (and purple), except for the one bit of blue -- my rambunctious 5.5-year-old son; Perfect combo of sweet, chic, and edgy!
This turning 28-years-old at the end of this month is doing something to me. Not in the oh-my-goodness-I'm-getting-old kind of way. More in the I'm-grown-and-FEEL-more-like-a-grown-up kind of way. I feel like I can make my own decisions (something that I've been doing for a long, long time) and not have to second guess myself because I'm afraid of what others might think about said decision (something that I have not been doing consistently for a long, long time).
It feels good.
Growing up, I typically strongly and quietly pursued what I felt was right for me at the time. Without really consulting anyone. I just did it, and people had their own thoughts and feelings regarding whatever I did, but the decision was already made by that time.
Then Aiden's other parent happened. And with the demise of that relationship came a lack of confidence in my ability to make sound and good enough decisions. For seemingly a long time, I didn't trust my own judgment. (If you've ever been in that position, you'd know that it's not a good feeling.) I second guessed many of the things that I did and asked people for their opinion before thinking about my own opinions. In some weird, twisted, and convoluted way, I felt like my worth was all wrapped up in what other people thought of me and my ability to make decisions.
But people make mistakes. Lots of 'em. And that's quite alright. Taking something away after the mistake is made is what's key -- growing pains. At it's finest.
And ultimately, my worth is not defined by what other people think of me or my decisions. It's defined by me.
I'm happy that the emotional roller coaster of my 20s are under control. I feel more stable. I feel more in control. I feel like my decision are my own again -- when it comes to making choices about how to raise Aiden, when it comes to my career choices, and when it comes to personal decisions.
When people question my decision to counsel teens in the foster care system and work as a freelance writer, besides the fact that I love it and it gives me life, my response is simple: "Eh, to each his own."
I was having dinner at a friends apartment a couple weeks ago and our mutual friend joined us. She was describing a personal decision that she'd made a couple weeks prior. She and I are in fairly similar situations, but not close enough to call it the same. The decision that I made regarding my situation is the exact opposite decision that she made. Throughout dinner, she kept saying something along the lines of, "I have to know my worth and be a woman and stick with my decisions." I agreed with her. She does have to do that for herself.
And I have to make and stick with my own decisions. And it's quite alright that my decision is different from hers. We agreed to disagree, but without being disagreeable. Because, ultimately, my worth is not defined by what other people think of me or my decisions. It's defined by me.