I loved the ’80s.
Big hair, rainbow eye shadow, and big shoulder pads. I totally felt like my authentic self.
It’s so interesting to take a look back at that decade now that we’re so far removed from it. It dawned on me as Matt and I listened to Rob Lowe narrating, “The ’80s: The Decade that Made Us” how much the ’80s has shaped my expectations of myself today.
What will we say of our modern decade twenty years from now?
What lessons will hindsight teach us?
I don’t know.
But right now, looking back at the decade of my youth, I realized my values have definitely shifted.
1980 something: As I walked the halls between classes, books in hand, I dreamed of being a television journalist just like Amanda Arnold on channel 11. I was going to wait to get married until I established my career, and I didn’t plan on having any children.
2013: I LOVE being a mom. I crave simplicity and homemaking brings me great joy.
But, everyday there is a mental battle between the career-minded, materialistic girl from the 80’s and the wife and mother of today. I disappoint myself with each chore that’s left undone, every take-out dinner that replaces a home-cooked meal, and any errand that gets put off ’til tomorrow. I wrestle with the truth that, despite what the 80’s modeled for girls my age, we cannot do it all.
I’m learning to let go of such great expectations…
Seven years later
It’s been seven years since I first shared my thoughts on being an ’80s girl in a modern world.
In 2020, I still love being a mom and get so much satisfaction out of homemaking. I’d also say I’m still not necessarily career-minded. But I have this dream that won’t quit. It’s actually gone from dream to expectation, no, demand.
A Childhood Dream or A Childish Demand?
Back in the ’80s, I use to while away hours curled up on my bed, my imagination carried away by the worlds of Donna Parker, Nancy Drew, and Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
I was fascinated by the way authors could transport a person into another time or place with their words. Every adjective captivated my imagination, and every unfamiliar word became a welcome challenge.
Reading eventually led to afternoons perched on top of the metal slide in my childhood backyard writing words. Any words. And dreaming of being a published author one day.
Technically, I am. Well, not just technically. I did publish a book. And I’m in my ninth year of writing blog posts.
Since my session with an enneagram coach, I’ve been trying to reconcile childhood dreams with adult dreams and also the current times. (Why am I still demanding that I make this dream happen? Does grown up Sharon still want to have a traditionally published book? Or was the publishing dream realized with the invention of self-publishing and blogs?)
Searching for Significance
You know, the thing I loved so much about being a teenager in the ’80s is it allowed me full self-expression. To this day, I love experimenting with hair, makeup and fashion. Being “extra” was the norm in the ’80s, and I was so here for it. (I guess my authentic self is a little extra.)
But, as my counselor once pointed out, I’ve been striving my entire adult life to be me. To be heard, seen and understood. To take my place in this world.
I made a lot of naive and heartbreaking missteps along the way. During my 20’s I searched for a husband. I thought finding someone who loved and cherished me was the answer.
I found my husband. Then came motherhood. I quit teaching and threw myself into being a mom and homemaker while trying to be a good wife.
Once Hannah entered preschool, I went back to teaching. Teaching made me feel alive, like a switch had been turned on inside me. Until it didn’t.
That’s when I started this blog. I would finally pursue my dream of being a published author.
Author vs. Authentic Self
“Just write,” I told myself. So, I did, while holding my breath and keeping my fingers crossed that I would be discovered.
I eventually caught on that if I wanted to be a published author, I would need to carve my own path. So, I published Home on Purpose: Mindful Living in a Hectic World.
It’s been satisfying and surreal to see my words in print. But, here’s the thing. While writing is an innate expression of my soul, it’s not who I am. In other words, it’s not my bottom line. It’s really close, but something is still missing.
Finding My Authentic Self
Somewhere underneath the ’80s girl, mom, blogger, author, homemaker, and wife is my authentic self.
It’s like I’ve been buried underneath years of roles and am having to dig myself out of a self-imposed grave.
I believe the sooner I can stop trying on different identities and being such a task master, the sooner I can just be my authentic self.
Do you know what common thread lies in all of this searching and striving?
While I work on putting this new puzzle piece into place,I have one parting thought. Being unencumbered so you can show up in this world wholly and authentically you is what becoming is all about.