Its amazing how we can look back on life and wonder where the time went. Im only 30 and I do that often. I can only imagine what it will be like when I am 50...60....But its not just the time that I look back on, its the things that I have done with my life. I look at the younger generation, those graduating highschool fixing to begin "real life" and think about the things that I would have done differently if I were able to do it all over again. If only I knew then what I know now. If only I were able to go back to that point in my life.
Highschool was such an awesome turning point in my life. I really think it would have been differently had I not graduated with a class of 24, most of whom I had known my entire life. It wasnt like I was leaving a school behind, it was like I was leaving my family. We all branched out to new ventures. Some of us traveled far and others stayed behind in the small town that was always called home. I remember nearing towards graduation and wondering what I was going to do with my life. I knew I would go to college. To me, that was never an option. But I had set my goals high and had envisioned living in Dallas in a condo, traveling the world designing clothes and working with the best fashion designers in the industry. When I went to apply to the Art Institute of Dallas, reality set in that my dream may not come true. I simply couldnt afford it. No amount of loans or pell grants could make it possible for me to attend, so I decided to go to a local university instead and take classes in fashion merchandising because it was as close as I was going to get. After all my boyfriend was there and my family. I could catch up on my dream later, when I had more money and more time.
What I didnt know was that there would never be more money, because as a college student you are always struggling to make ends meet. Certainly there wouldnt be more time. Time is the most valuable thing we have. With every breath we take we are spending time that we cant get back. In the blink of an eye our lives can change forever. We fall asleep, we wake up and then one day look in the mirror and see a much older reflection. No matter how much plastic surgery you get, what car you buy or what clothes you wear, you cannot buy back your youth for any amount. That time is gone.
I look at where I am today, and to be honest, I am disappointed in myself. Being an overachiever and a goalsetter was what kept me fueled. I got distracted, lost sight of the future that I had spent my whole life looking forward to, and now I am exactly where I didnt want to be. To redeem myself, I want to point out that I adore my daughter and she has saved my life, literally, more than she will ever know. I adore my Eric, because he has shown me that there are men out there like my father who are genuine and appreciate and would do anything for the woman that they feel are the other half of their soul. I love my family, and I thank God for them, but there will always be a part of me that is empty and longing to acheive that goal that I always wanted. Im sure I am not the first person to think this. Life never really goes like we plan it, does it?
I think about what I would do, what I would say to myself 13 years ago. I would tell myself that I need to heed to the advice of those who have already lived that part of their life. They arent just nosey old know-it-alls. They are people that have had their experiences and want to give you the gift of knowledge and understanding that you can in fact live your life differently. So you can learn from their mistakes. I wouldnt worry so much about the pressures of having to pick a job and a major or minor in college or what I am going to do with the rest of my life. That will come in time. I would tell myself to pay attention to the things I want to AVOID instead. Its hard to come up with a life plan as soon as you are released into the world, but its damn easy to decide what things, people and plans you dont want in your life, so you know how to avoid them. If you let those in, you are sure for a doomed future or at least one that will stand in the way of the person you wish to become. I remember starting out on a track and then just graduating with any degree that would help me get out of college. I look back and think, what was the rush? Now I have a degree I cant seem to use and really dont care anything about. Im still paying for it, but I am not using it. What a waste of time and money. What alot of regret that I hold in my heart every day. Its stupid I know, but I feel like that part of me is lost. In fact I cant even remember much about that girl anymore. Now I just wake up hoping I can make it through the day.
Im writing this because I want the younger generations to look at this awesome new opportunity you have with fresh eyes. You think college is a breeze? Guess what, its not. Think you are gonna stay a size 5 forever? Guess what, you wont. Think you wont have that moment where you sit down and cry and think the world is crumbling all around you? Guess what, you will. Its inevitable that you will change. Everything changes. Like I said before, with every breath life changes. Take hold of a clean slate and set your sights on what you do and what you dont want in your future so you will have no regrets. Life will throw you curveballs, obstacles and challenges, but be prepared to face them head on. Dont let them determine who you are or what you want out of life. Be able to look back in 13 years and say "I did exactly what I wanted, or close enough".
My favorite quote is from Ferris Buellers Day Off "Life moves pretty fast. If you dont stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it". Words could never be more true. Whether we are young or old, or stuck in between, make every day count how you want it to count before it all goes down the drain.