At 17 years old, I used to imagine how amazing my life was going to be. I could be anything I wanted to be; a doctor, actress, archaeologist, writer… and whatever I would choose, it would absolutely include world travel. I felt like I had a blank canvas, and I was the artist who was going to create a masterpiece.
Thirty years later, I can look back and see where I made some missteps. I didn’t realize then that the choices I made would vastly affect my future. I lived in the moment and prided myself on spontaneity. And I still believe those are good qualities to have. However, I wish I had incorporated more sense of responsibility. I wish I understood then that the actions I took in that moment of spontaneity created a different path for my life than I originally envisioned. Some of the choices I made lead to great rewards that brought me a lot of happiness. Some of the choices I made were the wrong choices and left me with consequences to grapple with for years. But none of the choices opened up a path for me to pursue my bigger dreams. Because I was so intent on living in the moment, I never stepped back to look at the bigger picture. I never made plans and wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve those dreams. I wanted instant gratification.
At 27, I had one marriage and divorce behind me. My first husband was a great guy, but I was a brat and got bored. I “spontaneously” left the amazing life I had created in Denver during my twenties and returned to where I spent the majority of my life growing up – Southern California. I wanted to start over and create something new. So I did. I had a successful career in sales, lived at the beach, and enjoyed the single life. Then I reconnected with an old high school fling and fell in love again. I was approaching 30 and wanted to settle down and start a family. We seemed to have an instant and deep connection, and wanted the same things in life. We created two beautiful children; a boy and a girl. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, things changed. I think we both felt abandoned by the other but held together by our children. Until the day came when I decided I wanted more.
At 37, I found myself single and starting over again. Except this time, I had two children that depended on me – and no job. I had chosen to stay home during my marriage to raise our children instead of continuing to pursue my career ambitions. I didn’t comprehend the severity of the financial impact that lay ahead of me. When we separated at the beginning of 2007, I was confident enough to believe I would easily be making $100k+ again within a few months, and I had a perfect credit score to help me out along the way. A year later, the economy crashed. I lost everything and gained $80k in credit card debt. Nothing seemed to be coming together for me so I went back to school to pursue a career in Court Reporting. It didn’t seem like the time to be in sales anymore, and I was convinced if I had a degree in something, I would be successful again.
At 47, I am married to a different high school boyfriend (I apparently like the comfort of familiarity), and have added an energetic little boy to our family. Although this marriage began like a fairy tale, it certainly has had its more difficult moments. Blending a family is hard. Really hard. There are obstacles to overcome that that I never imagined. Obstacles I’m not sure can be overcome, but I am trying. My husband loves me and my kids, and my mom. He puts up with a lot of drama. Some days, I’m not sure why he chooses to stay. But he does. He is a good man.
I never did finish court reporting school, but a couple of years ago, I did find a job that I love. I make a difference with what I do, and I am passionate about it. Because of that, I spend too much time focusing on it. I have the fortune to work from home while traveling around my county as a Field Rep – but it’s one of those things that is both a blessing and a curse. I wake up answering emails and work late into the evening preparing for the next day’s business. In the meantime, my family and home life are suffering. The house is always a mess, we eat way too much fast food, and I’m overweight. I feel disconnected from everyone, and my daughter is going into a dark hole of depression. Something has to change but I don’t know what. I have no balance.
At this point in my life, I’m no longer spontaneous. Instead, I’m fearful the choice I make will be the wrong one. I don’t trust my decision-making skills anymore when it comes to life changes. And so, I find myself here. I am creating this blog and website as an outlet – as a place for myself and other women to share our struggles and triumphs. To explore and ask questions of women from all backgrounds and experiences. More importantly, I’m doing this to inspire my daughter as she grows into a woman. I want her to experience joy and full self-expression. I want her to find her niche in life – and find it early – so she doesn’t just stumble through it and look back 30 years feeling she wasted so much time. I want her to find balance. And I want to be her inspiration by finding my own.
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Justine is a full-time working mom/wife/woman/daughter/sister/friend/ stumbling through life and uncovering dormant truths about herself!