Lately I have been plagued with a nagging uncertainty that makes me wonder if I had peaked too early in life.
Allow me to explain.
Before the age of 20, I was a Little Miss Overachiever: straight ‘A’s in school, tons of extracurricular activities, numerous awards, distinctions, and merits. My accomplishments included the following:
Not only did I qualify for the regional orchestra made up of 50 high schools in the lower NY area, I wrangled solo performances.
I was accepted to the über-prestigious Cooper Union School of Art’s Saturday Program (which has since divided into the Saturday Program and the Outreach Program) which allowed me to take art classes — for free — every Saturday for an entire summer from some of the nation’s most respected instructors in visual arts. I was one of the 40 students chosen out of more than 350 who applied…and I was one of the two high school sophomores (of the mostly juniors and seniors) who made the cut.
I held an internship — a paid internship — at one of the most famous and most respected art museums in the country: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I did not think too highly of these honors at the time, because all I had done is to do the work, apply, and get in. Only do I realize now that these were BIG FRIGGIN’ DEALS. Even my own sister, who is currently a PhD candidate in Art History, has recently asked me, “How in the world did you manage to land that Met internship?”
Post-college, I’ve only held two long-term jobs. While they were fairly respectable and paid well, they were nothing to brag about.
I am now a SAHM with an 8-month-old daughter and another kid on the way. I have not contributed to the household income for the past couple of years, and my life is, frankly, not very exciting.
Did I “peak” too early?
When I brought up these concerns with J, he assured me that while the accomplishments of my youth are great to be sure, they are worldy accomplishments, or ones that may seem to matter most to society. Meanwhile, having children and raising them, being a good mother and a wife and a daughter — that is what is more important to him and to our family, and that they far outweigh whatever I may have done in the past.
I know that many mothers consider their children to be their greatest accomplishments, but I do not feel this way. I consider nabbing my husband to be my #1 achievement.
Do you ever have fears that you may have peaked too early? How do you deal with the doubts?