I saw this link-up on Life of Bon and loved the idea of it. Can you recall answering questions like "where do you think you'll be in [x] years?" when you were in high school? Ever care to look back on those expectations to see if you were right?
As confusing as it may be, by the end of high school, I was simultaneously firm and flexible in my goals for the future. That co-existence seems impossible I know. Let me explain briefly. I struggled quite a bit in high school with a plethora of things, just like every other teenage girl. Mostly, I struggled to accept myself for the person I was. I found it difficult on many different levels to blend who I was with who people expected me to be. By the time I'd turned 18, I'd finally learned to accept myself as I was and love myself wholeheartedly regardless of what others said. (That resolve would continue to be tested over the next few years). So I knew firmly that I wanted to be myself no matter what it 'cost' me, because I worked too long and hard for it, but I wasn't solid on what exactly that meant, as I was completely aware of how malleable I was at just 18 years old. I knew I'd always be me, I just wasn't sure who that was yet.
What I thought:
Columbia University was my dream school so I thought I'd be finishing up my first year there. I'd finally get to enjoy NYC without the hovering of nervous parents (I was an adult now after all). I'd be majoring in creative writing/english/journalism/some literary-based subject, and my roommate and I would be fast friends. We'd have our own little group of friends and hang out at all the popular LES bars that would serve us. After rejecting all high school boys because they were too immature, I'd have that *perfect boyfriend.
Where I was:
Columbia didn't love me nearly as much as I loved it, and after bawling my eyes out over being wait listed, I decided to go to The Pennsylvania State University (not to be confused with UPenn) without so much as a visit. After getting over the initial shock of not going to an Ivy League school as I had always planned to do, I arrived at Penn State's main campus and absolutely fell in love. Attending school out-of-state quickly became the best decision, and still is one of the best decisions, I'd ever made. I roomed with 7 other girls (!) in a huge dorm room with doors that opened to both the boys and girls floors. The room was constantly full of people and liquor and some of the funnest times ensued. Our guy friends busted through our upstairs doors daily scaring the shit out of us. We drunkenly yelled at each other to "sober up" as we passed cops on frat row. I got chased down the hallway with a bottle of NAIR multiple times by a guy friend who had no idea what it did but wanted to test it on my head. I switched my major about six times that year landing on advertising (?) momentarily, but that was ok, because that year might have easily been the best year of my life.
This is how flag football in the rain ends up. I love each & every person in this photo for all the memories. Muddy footprints on my heart <3
There was no boyfriend in sight after that first year. I'd briefly flirted and kinda hung out with a guy that looked like Cory Matthews (score!). He told all my friends how much he liked me and most nights after a few beers, he'd dance with me and tell me how beautiful he thought I was, but never made a real move on me. So one night at a frat, I drunkenly asked him if he was gay, and although he was a gentleman and walked me home, I haven't spoken to him since. Eeeeep! I hooked up with a football player a few times, but soon lost interest once I realized he had the I.Q. of a potato (& a good kiss here or there wasn't going to make up for that!). I just couldn't find THE boyfriend that year. My physical qualifications for men were quite low, meaning he just has to be tall and hot, that's all I ask. Tons of guys fit this bill (Idris Elba, Zac Efron, Shia LaBeouf, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker etc.). Although a hot guy is a hot guy, I was looking for something quite rare.
I was crushing hard on Drake back when he was just Aubrey Graham & anything by Linkin Park or My Chemical Romance was basically my anthem.
I can appreciate a hot guy whether he's tall, short, buff, thin, black, white or whatever. But my type was a buff black guy, preferably over 6ft tall, who loved rock and alternative music just as much as I did or at least didn't tease me for it. Trust me - not easy to find.
What I thought:
At 18, I was convinced that the only thing I could possibly do well was write, so I just knew I'd be about to publish my first book by 23 if not sooner. If being a writer wasn't enough to pay the bills just yet, I'd be a columnist for a magazine or a newspaper or maybe even teach English or Literature somewhere. I'd see my college friends all the time, especially my core group of friends. I'd have my own apartment in the city, and I'd be dating some brooding artistic type or some business man.
*note: Marriage was never really in the cards for me or a goal of mine. I was cool just being with someone who had his -ish together.
Where I was:
Talk about deviating from the set path! At 23, I found myself in the midst of my first grueling year of law school. Somewhere in my junior year of undergrad, I realized how much I enjoyed arguing, discussing things passionately, and how I much I enjoyed corporate law which allowed me to incorporate writing into my career. I never really put away the part of me that wanted to be a real writer, but I put it aside because I didn't believe in myself enough to make it by career. I kept up with quite a few of my college friends, but there were many I dramatically lost contact with (apparently, the drama doesn't get left in high school). I was making a new friends in law school and really enjoyed the free time that I found between classes and studying, even though I felt like such a baby because everyone there was older than me with real lives and families. I was in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend, a relationship that was in it's 3rd year of life and the stress of the distance was taking quite a toll on both of us individually and our relationship as a whole. Frankly, I remember being terrified that our relationship wasn't going to make it out of that year.
What I thought:
I'm not sure that I thought about my life that far in advance. For me, 25 was always the landmark for success as the year in which I'd have it all figured out. But considering that 25 isn't so far from 28 and I've only just turned 26, I'll go with it. My 18-year-old self probably expected to be very much established by the time I was 28. No doubt, I'd be an author by now, maybe even have a movie deal or two. My friends and I would keep in touch and catch up over lively dinners at our old stomping grounds. As said above, I never really had the goal of marriage like most normal girls do, but I knew that I wanted a pretty serious relationship by now. The one thing I knew back then was that I wanted to have a child in my late-twenties and have at least 2 by the time I turned 30.
Where I am/will be:
I look at that last sentence and can't fathom in what world I thought I'd be a mom before 30. Some days I've been bit by the "mommy bug" and can think of nothing but chubby cheeks and slobbery kisses, but I know I'm not ready to be responsible for a little life as of yet and probably won't be ready for quite a few years. And that's perfectly fine by me, so long as I do eventually become one. Oh, and I only really want one these days. We can check the serious boyfriend off the list. That rough patch I mentioned up above? We made it through. And I'm so thankful everyday that we did. As cliché as it sounds, one of happiest parts of my day is when he smiles for no reason at all. It's so strange how after 5 years one can fall in love differently from day to day. Oh, and he may not be obsessed with alternative rock, but he thinks it's cute when I dance around singing my heart out :) I'm close with a few friends from college, although not many, but on the bright side, I've made friends with people in law school who I'm convinced I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. Silver linings, people! Oh, and that book that's suppose to become a movie? There's good and bad news there. Bad news: It hasn't happened; in fact, there isn't even a book from which to derive a thing. Good news: I'm not giving up on it.
I'm looking forward to plenty of life, love and adventure in the next few years. I'm ready to go beyond the wildest expectations of my 18-year-old self!