I recently attended a great event in NYC last week. Actually, it was held at the Faculty House of my very own alma mater, Columbia University. It’s been nearly 10 years since I earned my graduate degree so you can imagine how I felt as I stepped foot on campus after all this time.
When I attended back in the late 90’s, life was rather simple. I was living in an adorable apartment and working full-time. I had a great circle of friends and went out a lot. A lot. Attending school right in NYC made single life for a young woman very fun. Very fun.
[photo credit: Columbia University]
I had a great career and I was on track to continue moving up that ladder all the while REALLY enjoying my life in my early 20’s.
I did what I wanted – all the time.
Even though I only had to cook for myself, I ended up eating out with friends a lot. Laundry was a cinch and getting myself ready in the morning was easy since all I had to do was worry about myself. I paid my rent, had a few bucks to spare and simply enjoyed life in the big city. Now, stepping foot back on that same campus last week brought back some emotions because my life has changed so much since I was there.
I fell in love.
I got married.
I bought my first home.
I gave birth to two children.
A marriage, a mortgage and parenthood – life certainly took a different turn than the path I was originally on. I had big city dreams and worked my butt off toward a career I thought I really wanted. I networked, researched and earned that degree to bring me to the next level. But that career that I thought I SO wanted didn’t seem quite as important to me anymore once I became a mother.
Needless to say, laundry quickly became a big task and I was now feeding a family of four. My mortgage was much higher than my rent and I was suddenly responsible for the lives of two other human beings in addition to a husband. It became hard for me to get out with my friends as often as I would like and I still can’t drop everything for a quick manicure.
I have a picture of my father and I from my graduation day and it sits on my nightstand as a reflection of one of the happiest days of my life – because I chased a dream. My parents ALWAYS taught me to dream big and now, as a mother myself somehow, it makes me even prouder. I am still paying tons of student loans but I wouldn’t change a thing because that experience helped to shape the person I am today. You see, attending an Ivy League institution was on my list of dreams and it’s one of those things that I can tell my kids with a smile, “Mommy did THAT.”
Stepping foot back on that campus last week brought me back to a life I once lived – but I left with a new respect and appreciation for the life I have now. I realized how far I’ve come, how proud I am of what I’ve accomplished thus far, and also walked away with a new found sense of the amazing gift I’ve been given: to share this experience with my own kids one day.
Just as my parents had done for me.
Is there a dream you chased and accomplished in your life that makes you so proud? Do you have a “Mommy did THAT” story that you can’t wait to share with your own kids?