It’s a beautiful morning. As I sit here enjoying my morning coffee, I find myself pondering over all that has been going on in my mind over the past couple of weeks. And the topic can pretty much be summed up with these few words “You’re about to turn 30 years old.. and what have you done with your life thus far???”
Yes, this has been the one statement or should I say question that’s been occupying my thoughts. Now this question can be asked in a positive or negative way. And believe me, I ask myself that in both versions several times a day.
You see, my life isn’t what my Facebook page may reflect it as. It definitely isn’t that at all in my mind. Truth is that my life has been a roller coaster. One of those upside down twisty ones where you never really know where exactly you’re going.
Let me explain.
I was born and raised in Switzerland. And with that territory comes the privilege or agony (depends on an individual’s perspective) of being required to learn four different languages. Swiss German is my native tongue. In first grade I started learning German and every single class you’re in, that’s what you speak, High German. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Math, History or Chemistry class; the language to be spoken is High German, the textbook language. Then in 6th grade, which is when we start high school, French class is a requirement for the next four years. So I spent hours and hours trying to study and perfect that language until I was finally fluent. I hated it. French class was torture to me, I always barely made it. Then in 8th grade, English class became a requirement, at least back in the day when I was in high school. Today English is taught a few years earlier. Anyway, English wasn’t my strong suit either, even though I actually liked learning it. After high school I went to college pursuing my dream which was a doctorate in social studies. So here I was thinking that a major in psychology and minor in music was the way to go. At that point in my life I had no clue what the future held, and definitely never thought of what was going to come next; moving to the United States of America.
Yes, that’s what we did, my Dad, brother and I. We didn’t just move to a similar climate, nope, we moved to the dessert of Arizona; talking about a change of scenery.
So here I was like a fish out of water. I left college only 2 years into it and moved to a foreign country. I barely spoke English, the heat and aridity almost knocked me out every time I opened the door to step outside. And the culture difference, well, there’s no other way to describe it besides shocking. Yes, that’s right, I said it; shocking!
I believe the reason for me having had a massive culture shock is because I never really expected the differences to be that big. After all I came from an advanced Western culture and moved to another advanced Western culture. It wasn’t like I moved to a third world country. But ‘Oh Dear’… there is a huge pond, called the Atlantic separating the two continents on which, Switzerland and the US are located. Needless to say, the years and years of being home sick had begun, and yet after a couple of years of living in the States I knew I was supposed to be on this continent.
What followed the relocation was: my Dad got married, I started a bible school/ discipleship year, then moved into the high desert of Arizona and became a youth pastor alongside my brother. In 2006 I got married to Corey (a Texan that I had met in a movie theater in Switzerland in 2004) and moved to Texas. My husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and we ended up in a hospital on our honeymoon and started chemo and radiation the minute we got back. At that time we were both working at a well known ministry in Fort Worth, him as a TV producer and me as an Executive Assistant. By faith we walked the road of healing for the following 3 years. In 2009 he told me he just wanted to go home, and after what I saw as a successful three-year battle against cancer, he did exactly that, he went home to be with Jesus.
After a journey of mourning and healing I met a man who is now my husband, Shawn. We got married in 2011. In 2010 I started as a Project Manager in a Media Department at a mega church. I loved it! I enjoy that field. Advertising, short films, commercials, print material… I’m all for representing someone or something the best way possible in order to expose his/her or its full potential.
In 2012 we decided it was time to have babies, we got pregnant with twins right away but lost them that summer. In November of 2012 we got pregnant again but lost that baby late January. We then went to a fertility specialist and started those types of treatments in February of 2013. After several months of trying, with no luck, we finally got pregnant in June. Terrified as we were about possibly losing another baby, we kept on marching forward and I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl in March of 2014. I wasn’t working anymore and my journey as a stay-at-home mom began.
Being a stay-at-home mom has been a lot harder but at the same time a lot more rewarding than I would have ever expected. Now I do have to say that being a project manager, working 40-60 hours a week is a whole whole lot easier than being a parent.
There are days where I wonder if I should pick up the phone and call my old boss, asking if I can come back. But then, when I look at my little one, the joy she exudes, the way she looks at me with her innocent and trusting eyes, I realize that for me, my place is right here at home with her at this stage of both of our lives.
Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle daily with not having finished college. Not to mention never having gotten that doctorate that I originally was on the perfect path to get. After all, it was my dream to be Dr. Tanja. I have my PMP certification but that’s not nearly the same as a doctorate (I don’t think the two are even on the same planet). Plus I can lose the certification if I don’t have continued education in the project management field.
I have said all of the above in order to come back to the question stated at the beginning and in the hopes of making a full circle:
“You’re about to turn 30 years old.. and what have you done with your life thus far???”
So after 29 years this is where I’m at (please bare with me to the end)
I speak 3 languages fluently and have an accent in all three of them. Embarrassing! My French has slowly but surely been disappearing. I keep telling myself to start reading books in French in order to resurrect it. After all languages should be like riding a bicycle, right? But then again, who has time to read a book when you have a crawling baby!?! I started writing a book but got stuck, partially because I began doubting that anyone would read it in the first place. So why write it? I am still homesick for Switzerland or just Europe, but then when I go there for a few days or weeks I realize I don’t fit in there anymore either. Therefore, I kinda feel homeless because the United States don’t feel home either. After 11 years of living here I still experience the equivalent of culture shock at least once a month. I miss my Swiss friends because friendship looks quite a bit differently over there than it does here.. go deep at all times. I wish I had a minor in music and never stopped playing the piano. I struggle with not having a degree. I am told that “you don’t need a degree these days”. The funny thing is that all the people that tell me that are the ones that do have a degree and actually use it and wouldn’t be where they are at without it. So what!?!
Instead of being embarrassed about having an accent in all three languages I decided to rock the accent. I mean, who can say they have a southern draw when they speak Swiss German? Instead of regretting not having continued to practice French and making the excuse to not have time, I read a paragraph a day of “Le Petit Prince”. Instead of taking on a whole book I started this new site so that I can just keep on blogging and see where it goes. Instead of wondering where “home” is, I am learning to be content where I am at, believing that one day some place on this planet will feel home again. And if that never happens I know that when I cross over to eternity I WILL be home. Instead of dwelling on the passed and wanting to have coffee with my friend Seraina in Zurich every day, I commit and invest into friendships here. I started a Saturday morning coffe, croissant and chocolate themed get-together where young women in all stages of life gather in my living room and we purposely talk about our dreams and passions and encourage each other to pursue them. Instead of wishing I had a minor in music I started taking vocal lessons and sitting down at the piano again. Instead of pondering about not having a degree and beating myself up over it, I choose every day to see what my life is, rather than what it is not. To see that walking by someone’s side during a three year journey of life and death and eventually ushering that person into eternity has way more value than a framed piece of paper from a university.
Even though I was born in a country where success is the equivalent of a doctorate and lots of money, I choose to make a conscious effort to realize that life experience and life lessons are more important in the light of eternity, relationships, motherhood, and everyday life than I would have ever given it credit.
In high school, my German teacher told me that I’m an awful storyteller and essay writer and that I will definitely never be an author. From that point on I hated writing.
But maybe, just maybe, my success in life will come in the form of what I was told I will never be. At the end of the day, the Word of God says that God is made strong in our weaknesses and that we ought to renew our minds daily. So here I go… it’s a decision that has to be made daily if not hourly but practice makes perfect, so they say…
Whatever your life may look like, don’t believe the lie that it doesn’t have value, you have been born into this generation for such a time as this. Your life makes a difference in this world and every person around you will honestly say that about you. It’s time you believe in yourself with all that you are because there is a Creator that has believed in you every day of your life since the very instant He formed you in your mother’s womb.