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Monday, May 17, 2010

When I Grow Up

When I was eight, I wanted to be a rider and a mother when I grew up. I wanted a little farm, a trusted mount (a 17.1 hand black stallion, please), a trio of  children. I wanted a handsome and athletic husband (not to kiss, though—ick!), a pair of cats, and a trusted dog at my side. I wanted a bunny, a garden, and a tame, vegetarian peregrine falcon. I loved writing, riding, drawing, singing. I loved animals.

When I was 18, I wanted to be a rider, an artist, an environmental scientist. I declared myself a pre-art major.

When I was 19, I wanted to be a rider, a kayaker, and an anthropologist. I took science classes.

When I was 20, I wanted to be a rider, an animal rights activist, and a magazine writer. I studied journalism, got pregnant, and sold my horse. I looked down my nose at ovolactovegetarians.

When I was 23 I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in English, and with regrets for not having taken a minor in government. I wanted to be a lawyer, and wanted to marry Mat and raise my daughter M without it getting in the way of an animal law career. I fell off the vegan wagon. I ate ice cream.

When I was 24 I turned down a full scholarship to a great law school. I got married. I had a second child. I moved home to Whidbey. I bought a horse.

I've been trying ever since to decide what I want to be when I grow up, and it hasn't been easy. I have swung from seeing my life as a serious of missed opportunities and false starts to seeing it as a trajectory towards happiness . . . a meandering path to exactly where I wanted to be all along.

I'm still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I'm 30 years old—turning 31 in a couple of weeks—and I am not sure if I should study nursing. Not sure if I need to. Not sure if I can afford to. Not sure if I can afford not to. Not sure if I can ever make writing pay, and not sure if I'm closing a door by thinking so.

But what I am sure of is this:  I love writing, riding, drawing, singing. I love animals. I want to be a rider and a mother. I want a little farm, a trusted mount (a 14.1 hand brown mule, please), a trio of children, a handsome and athletic husband (to kiss and everything), a pair of cats, a trusted dog. A bunny, a garden, and a tame, vegetarian herd of dairy goats. Not sure about that falcon anymore, but then people change as they grow.

Dreams evolve.

Life unfolds.

(Photos above: riding Sophie at age 8ish; doing homework with Echo Bunny at age 9ish.
Photos below: riding Fenway at age 30, holding Harriet at age 30.)

10 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I am 28, a teacher, a writer, and a rider. I live in San Francisco, so it's pretty hard to do all those things all at the same time! I also want to have a small farm and continue to be a teacher, writer, and rider, but also raise quail and grow all my own vegetables. I would also like to have my own horse to ride, instead of leasing someone else's. However, I can't seem to figure out how to make all this happen. Do you have any advice for a similarly-minded fellow-traveler? Also, I think our rabbit friends should talk :)

    Best,

    Erin

    http://bayareabunny.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hey Erin! I grew up in Oakland/Piedmont, CA . . . . where you do ride??

    I'd love to talk more.

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  3. Hi Marnie,

    Worrying that nursing school would diminish your blogs, I selfishly hope you will push through the struggle and that eventually some revenue will present itself. Your writings are are intimate, funny and honest, I read them and laugh and I read them aloud to Loren too if he is too busy to take the time. I want to send you big support to continue what you love...

    PS I've been in Santa Cruz for fifteen years, but I lived & worked in the East Bay for 25 years. I love Oakland...

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  4. Dear lady, I am 25 and still seeing my life as a series of missed opportunities and false starts. Reading this post was good medicine (and I've been happily muttering "meandering towards happiness" to myself all day). Thank you!

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  5. Thank you all for the feedback and the encouragement! Having readers out there who connect with what I write is what makes blogging worth it. I appreciate it.

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  6. You must know by now how much I love FB's blog..but did you know I adore this one, too? You write so many things that others can relate to. I find myself nodding in agreement to many things!

    When I wa growing up I wanted horses, dogs, a husband, 6 kids (what was I thinking?!) a small farm, and to be a large animal vet.

    Instead, I stopped riding, dropped out of college, got married, and had three kids (in less than 2.5 yrs).

    I feel like I've lost myself over the Years. I've done nothing but follow my husband around for the last 8 of our 10 years, while he pursues his dream of becoming a physician. It's damn near sucked us dry.

    I'm hopeful that I can find myself and work towards some of my own dreams...soon, when I grow up :)

    Thank you for being so open with your thoughts.

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  7. Dearest Marnie,

    When I was 8 I was going to be a vet, an olympic rider and the Prime Minister, all while living in a luxury treehouse on a zillion acres with its own beach and pod of killer whales - I obviously grew up on the West Coast too.

    When I was 18 I was going to be an environmental scientist who would buy back the horse I had just sold as soon as I graduated, have a PhD by the time I was 25 and would at that time be already well set up in my ocean side farm with a fabulous boyfriend.

    When I was 23 I found myself thousands of kilometers from my own beach and whales and old horse, in a stinking hot/freezing cold city, finishing a degree in political science. I was still going to save the environment somehow, find my old horse, and get that farm.

    Now I'm almost 30, still in the aforementioned urban cesspool (at least to me - apparently millions love it), finishing a second degree in polisci and making plans to start anew. My old horse is no longer with us, I am not a scientist, am not likely to 'save the environment' and will never be able to afford my BC paradise. Instead I'm heading to the east coast - land of cheap real estate and extended family, have no idea what I'm going to do for a living, am most certainly not going to the olympics or Parliament Hill, but have figured out what will make me happy. I'm going to have a small farm (2 acres or so to start), a lovely garden, a couple of goats, a couple of horses, a fantastic partner, and a tight budget.

    When we grew up we were supposed to do it all. I am grateful for your ability to put this phase into context, and grateful that you take the time to do so.

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  8. Love the feedback. Thanks, readers—your comments mean a lot to me, and make this life of mine feel all the more worthwhile. It's important to keep dreaming, but also to see the beauty right before us, I suppose . . .

    M

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  9. How did I not know that you had an Echo bunny?

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Thanks in Advance for Your Mulish Opinion!

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