This I Believe

Eileen - Madison, Wisconsin
Entered on October 28, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I Believe

I believe I am right where I should be.

Years ago, early in my freshman year of college I came home for a gathering of my extended family, I both loved and pitied them. as I explained elaborate plans for my Halloween costume. Five friends from my dorm and I, would be a six-pack of Pabst, partying on Water St. I hoped to bump into a boy I was getting to know, certain he would be impressed by my cleverness. With all my 19-year-old wisdom, I felt sure no one in my family was having as much fun, and worse, they didn’t even have the sense to know what they were missing.

Almost thirty years later, I have friends with a 20-something son, Matthew. His dream is to own a restaurant, and he is learning how. He recently moved from San Francisco to New York and is apprenticing at a hot Manhattan restaurant that has graced the cover of Bon Appetit. He is living in a hip New York neighborhood. The future stretches ahead of him.

Still, I wouldn’t trade him my current Midwestern, middle-aged life with a family and mortgage, for one second. Well maybe one, maybe even a few hours – but that’s all because I believe I’m right where I should be.

While Matthew’s on top of the world, it can be a wobbly place to stand. He struggles with his options. California, he says, is more who he is. There is a job available at a fabulous San Francisco restaurant. Yet, New York offers an amazing opportunity and is the center of the restaurant universe. There are old friends in San Francisco, new ones in New York. He will do what’s right for him in the end and it will work. It’s evident to the rest of us, if not yet to him.

Still, I’m awfully glad not to be him. All that indecision is exhausting. I know because I did plenty of searching at his age. I tried different jobs and places, including my own stint in Manhattan.

I’m not done trying new things. I don’t want to stop learning and growing. But my daughter and marriage provide plenty of opportunities for self-reflection and challenge. There is something very satisfying about certain things being a given. I still search, but within smaller parameters. It’s not so much figuring out who I am anymore, but how to apply it in my corner of the world

I’m thankful for those years of questioning, exploring and dressing as a beer can. Those days influenced who I am in important ways. But I am equally happy they are behind me. Because I believe I’m right where I should be.