I’m Not Yet Done Growing Up…

MY VIEWS | | April 17, 2012 at 7:21 pm

No seriously, I’m not done growing up! That might sound a little silly to you if you knew I was turning 40 this fall (yes, this girl is not ashamed to say it – I own it in fact). I remember being told I should be a doctor by my dad when I was still around 10 years old, and I had no idea where he pulled that out from. It may have been something to do with the fact that I was ridiculously smart (was? still am – yeah, never apologize for being smart) which would be surprising since the man never once complimented me for doing amazingly well at school. That may be the reason that I love that we are very hands on parents, children need acknowledgement, praise and support way more than we realize. Needless to say that career did not make any sense to me and I never entertained the thought of a career that involved open wounds – blood I can deal, but open wounds – not so much.

As I was finishing high school the appeal of being a lawyer attracted me deeply. I was already representing the school at debates, and as my mom would attest to (well if she was still alive) or my husband who clearly would not engage in an argument knew this was my strong skill. Of course my mom was worried about a future of me being a lawyer so she got a session with me to chat to her lawyer. After he lectured me on how hard it would be to be a minority, person of color (in South Africa) and a female I let go off that dream – yeah that lawyer was totally handsome (as I recalled) but a total killjoy too. At school I pursued the sciences (focusing on math, chemistry, physics and computer science) so it was suggested I take computer science course further in college, since it was the “hip cool” thing then.

Of course that safe career was the choice of my mom too, yet I was not done dreaming. I started playing around with the idea of being a journalist, after all I had decent writing and I was known for writing to the editor for every social cause that I felt I needed an opinion on (seriously everything from censorship to dog poop, I still have the newspaper clippings of my letters published). I could see my mom sweat with worry each day as she knew I would not want to tackle the sweet stuff and would go straight for the political stuff (and she was right) but eventually I knew the turmoil and violence in those pre-apartheid days meant she had a point.

I also felt kind of guilty. We were from a poorer background and I did not know a soul who went to college (I actually took my mom with me to register) so I knew this was a major investment for her. This was both financially for obvious reasons and emotionally, after fighting with everyone who thought she was wasting money on a girl who would just wash her husband’s dishes some day. I owed her somewhat. So I took the safe path and since I was wicked smart (I told you I never apologize for smartness) and loved having a newer standard of living and being able to uplift that of my family.

Moving to USA was for an adventure but the “stable” job continued. I satisfied my crave for something more with volunteering nights and weekends (everything from kids, seniors, arts, food etc) while I paid my rent with my job. Now, after being a mom and quitting my job, it is 4 years since I started this blogging stint and it is a full career. And you know what? I am not done yet.

My 6 year old had read a book “Grace for President” and wrote this on her review “It made me think of me becoming a president” and at first I chalked it up to “kids” and then I thought – how amazing would it be that a special needs female of color and born of immigrant parents be allowed to dream?  I realized president or not, dreams are what keeps us from growing up and keeps it interesting. Pretty excited to grow along with my kids and re-invent myself as I choose to.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, and part of me being a “Hallmark, Life is a special occasion ambassador”. Personally loving the opportunity to share a window to my life.

19 Comments

  1. 1
    Tara says:

    This is beautiful, Niri, just beautiful. That journal entry is a special occasion! Bless her sweet heart.

  2. 2

    You…are an amazing person. NEVER EVER EVER change or grow up! :)

  3. 3
    Megan says:

    Yes yes YES! I was nodding while reading this the whole time. Never ever ever stop growing! You are such an inspiring woman, and mom, I mean that. Here I am getting in my own darn way, and I read this and think “What the heck am I doing??”

    I can’t wait to see what else you do, and what your babies grow up to be!

    • 3.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Megan you are so good for my self esteem. I need to have you here IRL to help keep my spirits high. You are a fab mama and I totally know that you pour much love and effort no matter which direction you go

  4. 4
    Felicia says:

    What a beautiful post… your kids are so lucky to have the two of you as parents. How important it is for dreams to be nurtured. It reminds me of a post a wrote a few years back: http://www.gograhamgo.com/2009/11/whats-your-passion.html

  5. 5
    vanita says:

    this is a wonderful post girl. i never wanted to be a doctor either though my mom wished it daily. i am not as brave as you though. cant bear the sight of blood much less open wounds. i dont think we ever stop growing up and i’m glad we don’t. always something new and interesting to do, new challenges to take on. my 15 yo is considering law herself. like you she is brilliant and bloody great at debating. not just with me. lol.

    • 5.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Mama, you better brush up on those debating skills coz a 15 year old can keep anyone on their toes even without that

  6. 6

    I’m impressed that you knew what you wanted to do when you were so young. I’m just now realizing that I am doing what I need to be doing. Took me a long time to get to this spot. Looking forward to reading more of your Hallmark posts!

    • 6.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Jill thank you. I still fear thinking of anything as final. I totally agree that what I am doing now feels the most right, but who knows?

  7. 7

    Love this, Niri.

    I’m still not done growing up ;-) Love this post and I love that book! My daughter read it, too!

  8. 8
    documama says:

    Wonderful post. I have heard other friends who were the first to go to college in their family also talk about that pressure to do something that would make the investment worthwhile as opposed to what they “dreamed” of doing. I love that you continue to transform yourself. I wrote a post on a similar note a short while back if you are interested in reading. http://tinyurl.com/6nfcfg3 I know I’m not “grown up” yet either!

  9. 9
    Kristen says:

    I think it would be awesome – and will be awesome – someday when that happens. The world is her oyster thanks to you helping her to believe in herself.

  10. 10
    NancySanchez55 says:

    Absolutely loved this!

  11. 11
    Kate Hayes says:

    I can’t wait to see what you will be when you grow up! You’re doing pretty well already. :) But I totally understand what you mean…I feel the exact same way. Never want to stop learning and evolving!

  12. 12
    Caryn B says:

    I say dream big! I loved reading this Niri…I just love learning more about you, esp. since we don’t talk that often due to distance. I thought I had “grown up” had the career, the husband, the kids…and then that all changed. Nothing is impossible…You are doing an amazing job teaching and being an example to your daughter.

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