Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Day 27: If I Could Turn Back Time...

Just a few days left until my big reveal... I'm getting excited, and a little nervous.  Only because I still don't know if I'll definitely be able to reveal on Sunday like I'd hoped.  Fingers crossed, still.

Today's blog topic is super easy to write.

My question is:  If I could go back in time and change something about my past, what would it be?

And my answer:  Nothing.

There you go...all done... buh bye.

Kidding.  Kinda.

The truth is, if I had the ability to go back and change something that happened in my life I wouldn't.  Because I know that the slightest change to my past could have drastic effects on my current life.

Sure, I made TONS of mistakes growing up.  I did many stupid things.  But, all of those stupid mistakes are lessons learned.

As a teenager, I became very rebellious and got in to lots of trouble.  I passed over a college scholarship.  Not that I could have taken it, anyway.  Even though I made some dumb mistakes as a teenager, there is nothing I'd change about those mistakes.  They molded my future in many ways.  Some of my parenting decisions came from those mistakes that I made as a teenager... knowing what I will and won't do with my kids to try and prevent them happening to my own teen kids.

Sure, it would be great if I could go back and erase several years from my late teens where I was in an extremely violent and miserable relationship.  Three years of abuse and being cheated on by a drug addict, good for nothing man that wasn't worth more than the shirt on his back.  But, I'd relive every one of those days over and over and over again.  Because there would be children missing from my life now without those days.

Being a teenage mother wasn't ideal.  My original plans for life didn't involve having two kids by the age of 19.  They involved leaving high school, going to college, settling down with a nice man, and having kids later in my twenties when I'd gotten my dream job and my life was stable.

But, again...wouldn't change one bit of it.  Sure, I had two kids at 19.  The statistics for my life were pretty dismal.  I was destined to live off welfare, raise my kids in poverty, cause the cycle to continue with my own children when they were older.

None of that happened.

OK, so I went through my bouts of poverty.  I was homeless, twice.  Both times after trying to leave the nasty relationship.  The second try I finally followed through.  I knew that man was toxic to my little family...and I'd rather be homeless and safe with my kids than spend one more minute letting that man anywhere near the kids and me.

Being homeless taught me, very quickly, how I needed to change my life and do everything in my power to support my kids and provide for them.  I lived in a homeless shelter all of a few weeks before I had found a decent enough job and a place to live.  OK, I had my share of welfare as a single mother... but I also worked hard to pay my bills, put clothes on my kids' back, and make sure they had a good start to their education.  I supplemented my child care assistance to make sure they went to the best preschool with a proper curriculum.  Even if it meant having to pay that little extra.

I hated being so lonely as a single mother for four years.  Again, another valuable lesson in life I needed...and wouldn't change now.  I needed to gain my independence.  I needed to understand that I didn't need a man to take care of me.  I needed to separate my desire to feel companionship - and look for it in the wrong places.  My four year break from relationships is, in my mind, the reason I was able to find such a wonderful man that I have now.

And going to school?  Would I have been so successful, so driven had life been different had I went to college straight out of high school?  The years of work experience I had behind me before ever stepping foot in to a college classroom sure did make a world of difference for me.  I had gotten the chance to dabble around in other work environments.  I had tested the fields of other career paths.  And, in the end I still came out knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life... it just took a little longer to get there than originally planned.  But, from that, I know that for the next 20, 30, maybe even 40 years I can teach knowing that there's nothing out there I'd rather be doing.

I have been so through so much for being 31 years old.  Lots of good.  Lots of bad.  Every bit of it making the person I am today.  I am happy, successful, loved, and comfortable.  My kids are not one of the many statistics when being products of a teenage mother, and a single mother for several years.  I fought long and hard to make sure that didn't happen.

Every second of every day is important to me.  I am fully aware of the paths I could have traveled.  I am fully aware of where I could have ended up.  I am also fully aware that my hardships, commitment  and ultimately my kids pushed me to do better - be better.

Everyone has bad stuff that happens to them.  And I've heard many people utter the words "Ugh, if I could just go back in time and do that over... I sure would do things differently".  Would you?  Really?  Knowing that doing those things over could impact who you are and who you've become?  I know I wouldn't.

That that don't kill you, only makes you stronger.

Not the wisest of people uttered those words in a song... but that song resonated with me.  Isn't it the truth?  If it doesn't kill you, good chance it will make you stronger.  That's been my motto all my adult life.  I've been through tough times, but it really did make me stronger.

And I'm very proud to say that.


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