Shudda-Cudda and Glad I didn’t

Source: clipartfest

Source: clipartfest

My birthday is coming up and it’s one of those milestone ones. Ugh! How on earth did I get to be this old? Better than the alternative, yet how did it happen?

Reflecting on life, there are some things I wish I would have done when I was young and a few that I’m glad I didn’t. Some things are best left as fantasies. The hard part is figuring that out in real time.

I wish I would have moved to the west coast when I was young and established myself there. (I hate cold weather. Always have.)

There was a strong family pull that kept me close. There were responsibilities to fulfill and lack of opportunities for women everywhere. Did it matter where I lived if I was going to make diddly-squat? In retrospect it may have.

I wish I would have worked harder on my career earlier, focusing on my skills.

In school, although I had some good and great teachers, no one ever told me I was good at something. Nor did they encourage me to pursue anything specific.

No one said “you write well.” Or you are quick to pick up languages (I would have made a great interpreter). Hic, haec, hoc* (Latin pronouns I still remember. Yep, two full years of Latin plus two full years of Spanish.)

Being an honor student didn’t mean much. The opportunities weren’t there. Our debate club was pitiful and unless you could play a sport well (I couldn’t), there wasn’t much else.

My math teacher always rolled his eyes at me. I could concoct complex algebraic formulas but my answer usually had a simple arithmetic error. (What? Two and two aren’t five? Now there are calculators.)

No one told me my lack of interest in minutia details but skill in problem solving meant I was a big picture person. No one knew what a big picture person was. Maybe there were no big pictures.

Career paths were laid out in a way that you had to maneuver through jobs that you stunk at to get at the jobs you did well (stink, stank, stunk or so said the Grinch). I remember one fateful file job. I had it for 9 months. It was agony.

I knew it was temporary and would give me the seniority I needed to move forward. Otherwise I would have jumped off the bridge.

Filing was boring for me. There are people who excel in the orderliness of it all. Little folders all in a row. Give them the damn filing jobs!

Teaching, nursing and secretarial were the choices. I like teaching except for the kids. I don’t have the patience nor do I have that unique ability to connect with them (it’s an underrated talent not shared by all).

Later I found that I loved teaching adults. Watching the lightbulbs go on is very rewarding. It’s almost instant gratification. Adults are in class because they want to be or need to be for their job. No hooligans to worry about.

Nursing was out. Body fluids. I love watching medical shows and would have been good at the problem solving part as long as it didn’t involve me touching body parts. Especially with a sharp scalpel.

There was a time during the 60s-70s when I wanted to be a rock star. Since I couldn’t sing all that well, Janis Joplin was my role model (except for all the drugs — rock stars didn’t live long). Linda Ronstadt was my favorite but my pipes weren’t even close.

It’s a good thing I didn’t pursue that interest. I don’t like staying up all night. There are all those people around all the time. Too much travel. I have no idea why I even entertained this idea. (I did ALMOST embarrass myself by auditioning for a band but that’s a post in itself.)

At the end of it all, except for not moving to a warmer climate which I can still do, there isn’t anything to change. I maneuvered to find what I loved to do even though it was much more circuitous than it needed to be.

There are good things about growing up in each generation. My generation had freedom that isn’t around today. Today’s generation has more opportunities at an earlier age.

All’s well that ends well. Still wish I had a local 6-year-old to help me with technology.

 

 

57 thoughts on “Shudda-Cudda and Glad I didn’t

  1. I loved this post. I have too much to say about it, so I’ll just say that I bet most (or at least many) of our lives and career paths have been much more circuitous than they needed to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed your post Kate and it’s given me a little food for thought. Not sure what age you are but I guess it’s similar to me. At the end of 2016 I made a commitment to change my life for the better, do what I wanted to do rather than what I was expected to do, to escape from the boring rut my life was in. I was full of positivity and determination, feeling my time is running out for making big life changes.
    Unfortunately 2017 so far has been full of illness for myself and family members that I seem to have gained the “carers” roll for. I’ve had no energy left for me and trying to kick start this new life.
    Reading your post I’ve decided it would be a good idea to write down my coulda shoulda woulda list, maybe it will help me define a little more what I really want.
    But that will have to be later, parents need taking food shopping, and son in hospital needs clothes taking in……… But tonight I will 👍
    Thanks for the inspiration and “Happy birthday” 🎂🥂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We’re very close in age, Kate, and I do shake my head when I think of the pigeon-holes I was expected to fit in…and I did it without complaint, not even envisioning I had options! We were on the forefront of the women’s movement and I do think younger women can’t imagine…unless they were “Mad Men” fans.. And if you happen to have Amazon Prime Streaming, I highly, highly recommend “Good Girls Revolt,” one of their originals. It brought a lot back to me of my college and young adult years and you’d definitely relate to the career opportunities/limitations.

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    • I once did a speech on women’s progress in business and I used my experiences as anecdotes. I had one sweet young thing come up to me afterward totally incredulous. She asked if I was raised in a third world country. If I would have had the opportunities available today, I would have run with them (as many women do). You and I did very well with what we had. I will have to try Mad Men. I hear a lot about it but have been resisting as I lived it. I worked in public relations during the 60s. Sheesh!

      Like

  4. This post reminded me of the “James Bond” times in which I’ve named this era. The Jame Bond era is one in which we are always contrasted from perfection. If we aren’t superheroes, we are nothing. In academics, only Einstein matters. In physicality, only pro-football athletes matter. In musicality, you are nothing if you aren’t a pop-star or Mozart. Technology? It doesn’t matter if you are a whizbang at computers, but if you aren’t Bill Gates you suck. In the James Bond era, being human at all is uninteresting and unworthy.

    I’ve lately come to focus my love for life on the parts that make it real. That means that people who are NOT Einstein, Mozart, Richard Sherman, etc. are the people who matter most. That surviving the day to day tumbles and finding peace and loveliness in ones own life is far more precious than fame, fortune or extraordinary circumstances.

    I love your post because it tells me about the unique You-ness that is You only. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lol..that’s a great last line.
    Coulda, shoulda, woulda is part of world as we grow older. There are things I wish I would have done differently, mistakes I’ve made, people I’ve helped and I’m sure some I may have hurt. It would be great to back with a broad stoke and correct or change those things but then who knows where we’d be today and if we’d be as happy as we are now.
    I wish too…but only for a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thanks. You are my poop queen. I aspire to be as free with it as you are. Gotta go find my mini leather skirt and platforms. Headlines tomorrow: Old woman falls off shoes and moons entire state. Watch out for the glare.

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  6. Yes I recently passed another big “-0” birthday. I think I managed OK with the limited choices available, and the place where I live does not have snow or tornadoes – so far. I could wonder what I would do with today’s options, but that would take up time and energy that I feel I could better use in other ways. Happy Birthday anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sometimes I look back and wish I’d done things differently. That I’d fought harder or believed in myself more. But then I look at where I am and realize that just one different decision might have led me elsewhere…like to be married to a jerk.

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  8. Birthdays are good for a “quick” backwards glance . . .

    Glad you don’t have any glaring regrets. Me neither since the choices I made all led to “this door” and I love where I am today.

    That said, where I am today is warmer than where you are today. 😀
    So get a move on it and c’mon down!

    We’ll leave a light on for ya!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband is not a fan of blazing hot summers or I’d be living next door! Yes, thousands of mini-decisions bring us to where we are today. Altering even one may change the outcome although I think if you have a positive mindset, you learn to navigate your way to happy.

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  9. As I began to read your Blog I began to reflect back on my days growing up what it was like at those times and much of what you explain is the same thoughts I had or went through as I went through school. I never was encourage much when I was growing up that I was good at anything. I was into sports in school but my parents never really came. My step dad he would belittle me and still does in front of our family and my siblings and I grew up feeling like I didn’t amount to much or could achieve anything in life until I got older and a wife that began believe in and care about the things I do in my life. I really like how you use you words in explaining how you seen things at different points in your life. I feel it help people who read your blogs relate to what your saying.

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  10. What a playfully honest look back on a milestone birthday! I can relate to a few of them but I am older and there were even less opportunities for women back then and my parents (nor many teachers) encourage me. Like you, perhaps I would not change a thing. Happy birthday whatever the year! You still did good, my dear! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s a shame that more kids aren’t encouraged to pursue what they are good at – or even told that they are good at something like you experienced. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and natural skills (not to mention being naturally extroverted or introverted) and there’s probably a perfect career fit for everyone. Anyway, I’m glad that you feel you eventually found your correct path. Although you didn’t move to the west coast, you are welcome to visit anytime. Don’t worry about the earthquakes… we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes or too many crazy politicians.

    Liked by 2 people

    • If you decide to secede, let me know. I’m moving out. I live north of Philadelphia. We don’t get many hurricanes but we do get the occasional snowstorm. My biggest problem is that our winter is very long as spring always seems to be late and we don’t get enough sunshine.

      Liked by 1 person

    • On another note, I think teachers/parents today will encourage a child when they see them excel in something. There are also more opportunities to explore interests. It wasn’t done for girls back in my day. Probably not boys either. After all we were just gonna get married and have babies.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Wonderful post, Kate. I find myself in much of what you’ve written too. (Except that I did live on the West Coast for 30 years! You do know about earthquakes,right?)

    Liked by 2 people

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