Five years ago, I was a senior at Columbia College, frantically searching for a “big girl” job before graduation and terrified that no one would ever give me a chance to prove myself. Come graduation, I still had no job offers. Amidst all the excitement of celebrating my achievement with family and friends, I was burdened with this awful feeling of inadequacy.

Luckily, the commencement speakers for my graduation were famous author Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, also an author and a CC alum. They challenged us to “find our fire” and pursue our passions instead of a paycheck, and it filled me with such inspiration and buoyant hope! Truly, those words became the mantra that got me through the following six months of job-hunting and unemployment.

Now, just weeks away from my five-year reunion, I am gainfully employed at my alma mater and pretty darn good at my job. In so many ways, my work does kindle my fire but I cannot say for sure that I have met their challenge. Am I pursuing my passion? Or am I settling for a paycheck?

It is exhausting to try and answer these types of black and white philosophical questions. Life is always more complicated, more muddled in shades of gray. Most days, I would say I am floating somewhere in the middle: I am fulfilled by my work, even if my work is not fulfilling my life’s purpose.

I suppose it’s a happy medium, but even as I type that last sentence, the little fire inside of me grumbles with ambition. Already, my personal expectations are mutating into a six-armed wonder mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend/super-successful-professional. How do you even begin to balance the urgency of living with the pursuit of your life’s calling?

Thankfully, Sue Monk Kidd has given me a new mantra for this next stage of my life, via an interview with Oprah:

“We have to acknowledge sometimes that this moment is enough, this place is enough, I am enough … and if I never seek another thing, it’s enough. It grounds us in our own being. It grounds us in home.”

Ain’t it funny how three little words can hit you like a brick wall?

I am enough.

Great Expectations

I’ve been working on something big these last few months … hence the absence of posts. Got a bun in the oven, folks! Come end of June, I’ll be a first time momma. 🙂

Baby's first selfie.

Baby’s first selfie.

When we first found out we were preggers, I figured I’d have TONS of inspiration for the blog, but it hasn’t quite turned out that way.

First trimester symptoms kinda suck the creativity and motivation out of you. Total exhaustion. Nausea. Food aversions. Super smell that picks up everything gross within a 5-mile radius.

Plus, there’s the symptom they don’t tell you to expect: an overwhelming anxiety bred from WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Thank you, What to Expect When You Are Expecting! In my opinion, if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, you should stay away from this book.

Along with all the great illustrations and cute produce analogies for your growing baby, they include the most awful, worst case scenario things that can go wrong with your pregnancy. I’m not saying this isn’t valid, useful information. Just put that crap in the back of the book — not mixed in with all the normal milestones. Pregnant women don’t need any help with over-thinking and worrying!

So, second trimester. I’m feeling better. Feeling great, actually! So great that sometimes I forget I’m pregnant … which makes me very jealous of all the other mommas with butterfly flutters in the tummy, weird/funny cravings, and budding baby bumps.

I’m 19 weeks, and other than a teeny-tiny bladder and a tendency to spill things, I got bupkis. I have tried documenting my pregnancy with those oh-so-popular weekly belly pictures.  Seeing as I have lost 7 pounds since I got pregnant and am still wearing my regular clothes, my week-to-week progression is pitiful. Haven’t felt the baby move yet. Haven’t wanted to dip pickles in my ice cream. No bump. Oh, the unrealistic expectations!

More than anything, my pregnancy has reminded me to step back and re-evaluate the way I measure my life. At every age, we take on new and different roles — friend, student, employee, husband or wife, mother or father. Often, we judge our performance in these roles based on cookie-cutter preconceptions of how things should be. Cue the disappointment and feelings of inadequacy!

Everyone’s journey is different. We are all doing the best we can with the circumstances we’re handed. And we are each uniquely gifted with our own talents and beliefs. We just have to let go of the shoulds and focus on living authentically.

My pregnancy has not been what I expected. I gave up on my “pregnancy journal” after 2 weeks. We haven’t started the baby registry. I don’t know if we will use disposable or cloth diapers. And I have no idea if I will opt for a natural birth or demand my IV of happy juice after the first contraction.

Many of my choices will likely be different from the mothers I know in real life, and from the mothers I’ve envied over the internet. Doesn’t make one of us right, or the other wrong. At the end of it all, I will still be a happy momma who will do the very best she can to raise her baby into a shiny, happy Peebles.