“37 year-old, South Asian female. 5 feet 6 inches tall, medium build, dark hair, dark eyes, eyebrows that need plucking.” That’s it. If I fall dead in the street tomorrow, and the cops find me, that is what they are going to say to describe me. Okay, maybe not that last part about the eyebrows, but everything else is strictly fact. In my obituary, or on my headstone (do Muslims have headstones?), “Loving wife, bad-ass mother, dutiful daughter, crazy sister, in lieu of flowers, please donate to Water First International.” I always thought there would be more to me. Maybe something else, like in addition to all of those things, “inspiring professor,” or “mover and shaker at So and So Super Important Corporation.” It’s not that I’m down on myself or have zero self-worth — I actually feel that I have many great attributes! For instance, I am an excellent clothes lender. I don’t even care if you return my lent garments with deodorant stains. I am sincere, an incredibly loyal friend (I will go level 99 Chicago on you if you mess with my friends), and, in my humble opinion, have a very discernible palate. I am extremely organized (okay, I’m a neat freak), am a hard worker and a quick learner. For all of my excellent qualities then, why can’t I find a job?!?
When I was a young student, I always had a clear narrative as to how my future would play out. I would work hard, listen to my parents’ advice and succeed in any field I would choose. I knew I wanted to be either a doctor or a supermodel. Very attainable goals, I know. Well, when high-school came, I found myself being of average height, so I put my supermodel dreams aside and focused on becoming a doctor. I volunteered at hospitals, read about science breakthroughs and immersed myself in episodes of ER. That lasted a few, good years. I was in my second year of college, when I met the love of my life, and my direction for the future suddenly became a little cloudy.
My now husband, had everything in him that I wanted for myself. He is super driven and is the hardest worker I know. He was fully consumed in his studies and in achieving his career goals, but he fell in love with me, as well. We decided to get married after my sophomore year, and he started his medical residency, while I finished up my undergrad. I found that school became secondary to my relationship. He worked hard and long, long hours. I wanted to be the perfect support system for him when he came home, and didn’t want to contribute to his stress. I cooked lovely comfort meals, kept a beautiful apartment, and always made sure we had fun activities and adventures planned for his days off. I balanced the check book, lit candles, ran all of the errands and took out the trash, so he wouldn’t have to deal with the mess of the dinners I burnt (hey, I was still learning to cook)! I got pregnant.
One kid came after another, and over the course of the next few years, I had three beautiful babies. I was blessed. We moved whenever a new opportunity to learn presented itself for my husband. Within our first 8 years of marriage, we made 5 state-to-state moves. We finally settled down in what I thought would be our forever home. I returned to school (I had miraculously finished undergrad and an M.B.A. through all of these years) and thought I could give medical school another go. I was young, smart and eager to learn. My youngest was crawling around, my eldest was in first grade, and my middle was somewhere, doing something. I had a little time and I hit the books. WRONG! I didn’t have time! I still had to cook, clean, change diapers, run errands, keep a house running, and love those beautiful kids of mine. Whenever I attended a class, or hit the books, all I could think of was “kids this, kids that, kids need, kids crying, kids hungry.” Well, maybe I could study in a few years, when all of the kids are in school.
Fast forward another 8 years, and 3 more states later, I have everything, but somehow am left wanting more. Over the last 16 years, I have volunteered, interviewed and gotten great job offers, and made wonderful friends. I closed the book on wanting to become a medical doctor and have opened other books, such as “becoming a lawyer,” “starting a business,” “getting your PhD.,” and my personal favorite, “try being happy as a stay-at-home-mom.” But none of these options seem to bring the gratification I am looking for. I love to read and write, so my brain tells me that going to law school, or getting my PhD. are the right avenues for me to travel down, but haven’t I gone through enough school? Don’t I have enough experience? I know that once someone offers me a job that I want, I would be an amazingly hard worker. Perhaps, even the hardest worker that company has ever seen. I used to have a beautiful mind, one thirsty for knowledge and quick to analyze and assess situations, problems and solutions. Why don’t any of the companies I’m applying to see that?
I started this blog to see if I could add anything to my “facts.” I am raising some superstar kids, so I feel like I am already contributing to society in a great and positive way, but there is more I want to give. I would love to do something to educate or change the world for the better. Seeing and hearing about the devastating events happening around the world, living life as a first-generation born and raised American and being a part of a nation with such a hot-button political climate makes me want to jump in to everything, feet first! Join me, as I go through the adventure of figuring out what I want to be when I grow up and finding out how I can actively contribute something to not only to my own life, but hopefully, to the lives of others. I know there are a ton of other people out there, that feel the same way as I do. I would love to hear your thoughts and be inspired by your stories. I know I have a lovely life that so many people wish for, and I am so grateful for it, but I’m looking to add something else.