Once upon a time, what feels like another lifetime ago, I was eighteen. I was graduating high school and therefore knew everything that one needs to know about life. I would start college in the fall and work retail part time just until my art career took off. I would graduate in four years (Ha!) then travel the world peddling my art, working on theatre productions, and writing bestselling children’s books. By my late twenties, I would have my shit together and be leading an exciting and romantic life. I’m quite the dreamer.
Oddly enough, this funny little thing called life happened. Now, suddenly I’m twenty-six (How the hell did that happen?) and I most certainly do not have my shit together. I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will. Don’t get me wrong, I have a good life. I’ve got a nice little house full of dogs and a great marriage, but I can’t help but think that eighteen-year-old me would be more than a little disappointed in present-day me. My life is nowhere near as exciting as I imagined it would be. I’ve become…dun dun DUNNN...domesticated! I do laundry and dishes regularly. I remodel rooms and garden (aka commit mass plant murder) with my husband. I enjoy baking. It’s shocking, I know. We’re even considering having *gasp* children in the near future. I’m also a sellout. I am now studying graphic art and advertising. I can’t wait to work for an evil corporation some day and be able to afford to indulge my wanderlust and clothing and makeup addiction. I may actually even have time to paint and write more because I’m not working a gazillion odd jobs to make ends meet.
While I do feel like my life is progressing, I also feel a little off-track. You see, I’m at that point in life where all of my friends have “grown-up” jobs. They are career people, they are married or in long-term relationships, and they are having children. There seems to be a surplus of babies around me. The people that I used to party with late into the night now need to be home by nine to relieve the sitter. The weird limbo I reside in is made evident by my student life. Two years ago, I went back to school to finish my degree. Not having any previous design classes, I was a born-again freshman. The vast majority of my classmates were straight out of high school. I felt like I was visiting another planet. I didn’t have the first clue about popular music or contemporary teen celebrities. How do I, the old married lady, relate? Over time, a found a common ground with this eclectic, fun, creative group of people. We all shared an intense love of art, a deep dread of deadlines, and a shared nerdiness. In my classmates, I started to recognize something very familiar: My eighteen-year-old self. I saw in them the same dreams and ambitions I held at that age. There is a strong part of me that hopes these dreams come true for them. It has also awakened something in me that made me start to dream again.
I am hovering somewhere between impending adulthood and a Peter Pan-like self that never wants to grow up. They never prepared me for anything like this in high school. They just told us that if we really wanted something and worked really hard, we could do anything. They forgot to mention that one rarely knows what they want out of life at eighteen, or that life has a way of happening in unexpected ways. They never told us that you can still have a wonderful life, even if all of your wildest dreams don’t come true. A lot of the unexpected things in my life are the best things in my life. They don’t tell you this either.
I feel like life has a way of happening as it needs to. Some people may call it fate or Karma, but I believe that things and people come in and out of your life as they are needed. Everything is meant to teach and I’ve learned a lot in my life. Look at all of the little glitches and triumphs and surprises that cross your path and learn from them. You may not be where you thought you would end up, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
- What do I do now? (uloop.com)
- The road to success: Follow your dreams… then wander away from them. (functionalinsanity.wordpress.com)