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Pursuit of Happiness


I was always, for the most part, someone who followed the rules. I thought that if I did, then I would secure my happiness in some way or another. In school, the teachers loved me and I got good grades. At home, I did not get punished etc. I thought that by playing by the rules, I was sure to win.

The game of life has now taught me otherwise. Yes, being a good student made me happy. It is true that I have good memories when it comes to school. College was another story. While in college, I became more rebellious. I moved out of my house, I started partying, but all the while still having a scholarship and putting myself through college. I quickly received my bachelor and headed to law school.

During law school, I started to realize that there was a part of me that was completely miserable. I started to doubt whether I should be in law school at all.  The three years I spent in law school were by far one of the worst in my life. My self- esteem went down the drain and I felt no satisfaction. My friends and family had to constantly support me with comforting talks about how they were so proud of me and how they would not have been able to do it at all. I suddenly felt like a mediocre student. I had no interest in dropping my entire life to study and compete with the rest of the class. I could not imagine a life without fun and friends. I was sure that sacrificing all of that to study 24/7 was not my goal in life.

After graduating, my career was as lackluster as law school had been. Why would I have ever thought otherwise, right? Well I gave it a shot, but the boredom was just too much. I felt completely disillusioned. Was I just not cut out to be an attorney?

I felt that I had put so much effort into becoming an attorney that I needed to give it all I had. All those years I spent miserable, were years where my relationships took a hit as well. That misery I felt percolated into my relationships. Statistically, it has been proven that on average, a woman who goes to graduate school, marries at least 4 years later than a woman who did not. Great. Now on top of the fact that my career is uninspiring and I suffered three years of law school, I am one of the last to marry.

Am I dying to be married? No. Does it suck watching every younger person in my family get married before me? Sometimes. Overall, this has had both positive and negative effects on my life. On the positive side, I have traveled all over the world, I have accomplished many feats on my own.  I know what I want in a man, I have not settled. On the negative side, I run the risk of not being able to have as many kids as I would have wanted or any at all for that matter.

When I was young, my mother taught me the importance of being a successful and independent woman. I set off with that in mind. My goals were always to get good grades, go to law school, be an attorney, have money etc.

Now, I find myself, with an empty feeling inside. Wondering if not putting more emphasis on family is the culprit. Who teaches you to be a good wife or mother? I sit here today, and wonder how those two goals did not make my list until I was in my 30s.

There are many women out there in the same predicament as me. Our mothers were married young and were young mothers. Our grandmothers even younger than our mothers. So… who do we compare ourselves to? Who do we look to for guidance?

It seems we have to carve out our own path in our pursuit of happiness. We need to stop trying to compare ourselves to other women who are not in the same predicament. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Having it all should not mean sacrificing happiness to attain it. We need to do whatever it is that brings us happiness and be proud of that, whatever that may be.

February 24, 2012 6:18 pm

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