I wish that when I was growing up someone made me write down who I thought I’d be when I was an adult. Every couple years this image would change of course, and I would be interested in seeing if I met any of the marks. Probably not, is my first thought. Recently a friend of mine bought me a book of graphs for my birthday, where you chart different aspects of your life, personality, and desires, and gauge whatever you want about the graph’s results. Some of the graphs had you evaluate your goals and aspirations and where you fell on your list of dreams. I have yet to complete any of these graphs. I’m not sure that I’m in any way the person that I thought I’d be, and if I spend more than 8 seconds thinking about that, it gets a little depressing.
Or does it?
When I was in the first grade I wanted to be a ballerina.
Sure that would have been cool for 20 minutes last year as Natalie Portman bled her feet and starved her tiny body across Black Swan while Mila Kunis tongue tickled her twat. But let’s face it, not much of a life would have come out of that. Lord knows my 5’8” stature and affinity for McDonald’s McMuffins and excessive alcohol consumption would have ended my career before a professional version of it could have begun. I’d say this one’s for the win. I sometimes sashay into my living room just to make an entrance, but I think that’s enough ballerina for one ungraceful white girl.
When I was in the fourth grade I wanted to be a songwriter.
And I swear to God I wrote a ridiculously epic piece about saving dolphins. It was super catchy and I thought for sure Disney would pick it up. (This was way before the Hannah Alabama and Hilary Duff explosions.) I could rhyme like no one’s business, and when you’re nine and your classmates still think that “time” and “mine” go together, I was a clear genius and would be writing lyrics for Celine Dion before you knew it! So I made a go at writing songs again last year and I think at least two were tolerable, but I can’t seem to find a backup band. I guess this one’s for the loss…but I think the world is appreciating my sarcastic essays more than “Let’s save the dolphins; our friends with the dorsal fins.” (I couldn’t think of a more appropriate word to rhyme with than that. Can you?!)
When I was in eighth grade I wanted to be a hair dresser.
And when I was 18 I wanted a college education. I think every girl goes through the hair dresser/nail tech phase. It’s right around the time when we realize that it’s fun to doll ourselves up and then think we’re insanely intelligent when we figure out that we could make money at it too! A nail tech’s wages sure look hefty to a 12 year old, and not really anytime after that. But I knew becoming a nail tech wasn’t in my cards considering I can’t stay within a nail bed line if my kindergarten graduation depended on it! I’d chalk this one up to a win. I have the world’s best hairstylist, cut my husband’s hair a few times a year, and I don’t have to wash other people’s scalps.
When I was in ninth grade I wanted to be Britney Spears.
When I was a junior in high school I wanted to be an architect.
This was probably my most ambitious and rational aspiration yet. The University of Oregon had an incredible architecture program, and designing dream homes was something I could do in my sleep. (Literally, I dreamt in houses.) This is probably the time in my life when my parents were most supportive of me and pushed me to work towards this goal, well into my college career and well after the window of opportunity had passed. The only reason I backed out (I would have probably once I got into the program and experienced my first 12 hour school day for the 5 year degree) was because in a Career Planning class at school I had to research architecture and found out that engineers make a hell of a lot more. Oregon State University had the engineering program, and I didn’t want to be a Beaver and would probably fail out of Math 95. In some ways I could count this as a loss; I still very much love designing dream homes. But after the housing market crashed, and homes are being built less than they’re being sold, I may be able to tally this on the winning score sheet, right above unemployed Interior Designer.
When I was a senior in high school I wanted to be a writer.
That would have been pretty clever, huh? But my writing career is far less successful than that. I have been writing my entire life, and before I could write or read I stared at books and told my own stories until the funny symbols and shapes made sense to me. In a creative writing class my last year of high school I was required to read some poems out of a portfolio I created. I got amazing feedback and could tell that I was leagues above my peers (Horn tooting commencing.) And in college I started to take more creative writing courses. But when I was denied entrance into an elite writing group at the U of O and my Journalism degree days were over, I suffered a gigantic setback. I wouldn’t let anyone see my writing, and even became embarrassed of it. Sometimes I would let myself get hammered enough to show my best friend (and by show I mean push upon) but that was it. It wasn’t until I was unemployed for 6 weeks and feeling super sorry for myself that I figured now was a better time than ever. My blog became a huge success amongst my husband, 3 closest friends, and 1.5 parents.
I’m still not where I want to be with my writing, or with any major goal in my life. I’ve yet to buy a house (or car), just recently landed a job that I’m actually proud of, and haven’t produced any minions to carry on my legacy/genes. But 26 isn’t what it used to seem. When I look at other 26 year olds who have completely settled down, I am reminded that, although marriage is the most mature thing I’ve accomplished, I have my whole life to be a grown up.