Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Growing Pains

     It is February in Louisiana which means two things: gray skies and rain.  On this particular day, I have a team meeting.  I've recently started a new career as a real estate agent, only two months in, and I've yet to go to a team meeting.  This is all so new to me.  This is going to be my year of growth.  I tell myself that daily, over and over again.  I knew going into this that my biggest obstacle wouldn't be the laws governing real estate, or my lack of mortgage knowledge, or even my lack of computer knowledge.  My biggest obstacle would be me.  Or more specifically, my thought life.  My thought life, which leans toward the cynical and the self-deprecating.  My thought life, which can be negative and difficult to silence.  And of course it's raining today.  It has been for five days.

     I just turned 48 and my body is changing.  I'm beginning a new career at the beginning of a major life change.  The irony is not lost on me.  My children are out of the nest and when they are home, although I'm happy to see them, I'm unsettled when they're here. This makes me feel guilty and odd.  I don't understand it.  I suppose it's because when they're home, my process of evolving becomes stagnant.  I go back into good old Mom mode.  I don't know how to express to them that I am changing and I'm not even sure that I should.  It feels personal and so private.  And honestly, I don't think they really care right now.  They're not uncaring children, but they are young and with that, mostly self-involved.   It's an effort to pull out my positive words to help them push through this phase of young adulthood.  I find my mind drifting while they talk about school and their friends and the latest movies or problems that they're having.  But then again, I find my mind drifting often these days.  It isn't that I don't care.  Maybe the last two years, that last and final push to get them out of the nest, has left me exhausted.  This is my time, I think.  Please be quiet.

     And even this new career is partly for them, too.  I want them to be proud of me.  I want to inspire them.  I'm tired of the lack of money.  I'm tired of just getting by. As my family grows, so do their needs.  I want to help them get started.  Co-sign for a new car loan? Sure.  Help with a down-payment on their first house?  You bet.  Rent a huge beach house so we can all get away for a week or two?  Absolutely.  And then there's my aging parents.  They have no retirement, no pension, no 401K.  My father works nights at a nice hotel downtown and my mother works two days a week still for an optical doctor.  They're 68 and 69 and should be retired, or close to it.  I want to buy them a house and take them on vacation, too.  I want health insurance for my family.  I need glasses and dental work.  I want.   And what's wrong with that? Nothing.  Nothing at all. 

     So, today, I make myself shower and get dressed and head out in the cold rain to the office for the team meeting.  I don't want to go and this is why I know I have to go.  The part of me that doesn't want to put herself out there because she's not good enough, not smart enough, not interesting enough, really has to be silenced.  Because I'm pretty sure she's a big, fat liar.  I'm pretty sure that if I don't change what I do today, that tomorrow will be the same.  Cold and rainy and lacking.

     The meeting is good.  It's very positive, very win-win, very motivational.  And at the end, there is a drawing from the "money bag" for each agent who had a listing in the month of January.  There is one hundred dollar bill, one fifty dollar bill, three twenties and forty one dollar bills.  I'm the second to last to draw and mostly, everyone has drawn dollar bills and a couple of fives so I dig deep in the bag, searching for that 100 dollar bill.  My odds are pretty good and all the while I'm thinking, "See?  This is confirmation that you needed to come today.  You'll probably draw the hundred dollars and wouldn't be that be just perfect?"

     But I didn't.  I drew a one dollar bill.  And even though I really needed that money, I'm kind of glad I didn't get it.  Because that would be too easy and this year isn't going to be about easy.  Growing pains never are.