Time Travel

Melting Mama, by way of The Pioneer Woman, asked:

How similar is your life now to how you imagined it ten years ago? Twenty years ago? Are you exactly where you imagined you’d be? Or are you constantly asking yourself, “How did I get here?” Do you mourn the unrealized plans in your life? Or are you happy no matter what your circumstances?

Ten years ago I was sixteen. I could hardly imagine what life would be like at twenty six; I could imagine college, but not beyond. I know that when I pictured myself, I pictured confidence. I always hoped I’d be a dynamo in my twenties, rocking a professional career and taking no prisoners as I climbed the corporate ladder.

Another friend of mine blogged today about how our generation was constantly told we could do anything. And it was true. But the sheer number of choices has been overwhelming and scary, and leaves me second-guessing every decision I’ve made along the way. If I weren’t married, I could be working as a lobbyist in Washington. If I had dreamed bigger, maybe I could be earning my PhD at Harvard instead of the University of Central Florida. If I’d been less selfish, maybe I could have served in Africa for a couple of years already. There are a lot of opportunities out there that I haven’t taken because I’ve made certain choices.

I’m tied down. I have a husband, a mortgage, and a career-in-the-making. I don’t regret my choices, but I am ultra-aware that for every decision I make, I close the door on some opportunities. That’s life.

I think that if my 16 year-old self was looking at me right now, she’d:

  • Kick my ass for putting my parents through hell at ages 19-21.
  • Think my husband’s hot
  • Ask me why I don’t spend more time with friends. And why I haven’t made many new friends.
  • Be really, really glad I’m losing weight again. Because that 16 year old was 129 pounds and pseudo-anorexic. She’d be glad I’m learning to be healthy in a wholesome way
  • Tell me not to worry about having kids yet. It’s not like I’m thirty or anything (Hey! It’s my 16-year-old talking, no offense!)
  • See why she should have worn sunscreen all those summers

So no, I’m not where I expected to be. But that’s partially because I really couldn’t imagine 26. And partly because I believed the hype that I was an Ultra Special Unique Person who would change the world in a single bound. Instead, I’m really just another Joe Blow (not that I’m not incredibly cool though!).

No, I don’t mourn the unrealized plans in my life. Because anything could happen. I have no idea what the future will bring, and I may still climb Mt. Everest (not really) and run for Congress (not really) and skydive (not really… but you get my drift). The unrealized dreams of my life are exactly that… just unrealized. They’re not dead. It’s not over. I do great things!

Plus, I know my dreams for my life are nothing compared to God’s dreams for my life. I’m truly just along for the ride!

I wish I could say I’d be happy no matter what the circumstances, but that’s just not true. I can pretend to be ultra-spiritual and say that I’d be at peace with whatever. But that’s not genuine. I wouldn’t be happy no matter what, but I’m happy right now with what I’ve got. I’m grateful every day!

Oh… and twenty years ago? I was SIX. Six-year-olds have no concept of their adulthood! I probably would have imagined my life just like my mom’s was at that time… when I was six, she was 27 with two kids, a husband, and a life full of laundry and playgrounds and church groups and toys. I’m sure I would have expected the same thing for myself and boy, was that off the mark!


One Response

  1. How funny… AND for the record 30 IS NOT old… or at least I refuse to believe that it is!! You’ve got a very good perspective on things, and I agree – I think that my younger self would have been very similar. She would never have thought that I’d be where I am today… that’s for sure!!

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