Do you ever have one of those times where you are driving along in your car and thinking about something in your past, or wondering about something in your life, and all of a sudden you see in vivid technicolor that you are just repeating a pattern that can trace back your whole life? Happens to me all the time - I am way too introspective when I drive, perhaps - and it happpened most recently this morning.
I listen to the oldies station on the radio driving to work, if I turn the radio on. The song "I Will Follow Him" came on (you know the one - "I will follow him ... follow him wherever he may go ... and so on). I'm not exactly sure why I turned that concept on myself, but all of a sudden I realized that I have latched on as a follower in my personal life and then my work life so many times! First, I suppose, was just assuming my dad knew everything and just blindly following his lead and spouting his opinions etc. And I thought that was the type of man I wanted to marry as well - one who would just lead and bring me along. And then I got my first FT job and was an admin assistant and found I was really good at it. I can assist and support higher ups and make them look really good. But it wasn't enough for me. And continuing to just recite the opinions of my father wasn't working for me either. And who is surprised to hear that my search for a man to take over my life and lead was interpreted as being a bit needy and desperate? Talk about a pattern that needed to be disrupted!
Took me until midway through college to have the first real instance of questioning whether my dad really was right about everything in the world (my first boyfriend asked me probably more than once "is that your opinion or your dad's?"). Took me until my late twenties to realize I should strive for a job further up the food chain, where I had more responsibility than just support staff. Took me until my thirties to realize these same concepts applied to my search for a mate, and probably to my mid forties and now late forties when I'm now actively trying to accept that my husband isn't solely responsible for my happiness in life.
What a journey this has been, and I'm laughing a bit as I write this because anyone who knows me now would never believe the person I was twenty-five years ago when I hardly had an independent opinion in my brain. I am clearly making up for that lost time now and I would say that I am teaching my children from birth to think for themselves - I can't count the number of times I have said "you don't have to agree with me, what do you think?" to my ten year old. I hope my kids grow up knowing the world is available to them and that they are not expected (or required) to follow anyone's path but their own.