I asked all of you over on Instagram what you wanted me to post next. By far the most requested topic was a personal one:
Did I accomplish my younger self’s goals?
This is a difficult one to put together, because there are countless younger versions of myself, and they all had different aspirations. For the sake of responding to the most “mature” version of my younger self, I will compare high school Dre’s goals with what I’ve accomplished as of 23 years old.
Education & Career
When I was in High School, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted it to be book/writing related. I definitely wanted to graduate from a 4 year university without going to community college.
I graduated from university with a BA in Creative Writing in 2020, so success in terms of education. I would possibly like to go back to school for a Masters in Library and Information Sciences or Archiving. So, it seems as though that journey may not be over just yet.
I thought I wanted to teach high school Literature or become a professor in the English Department at some point, but I quickly realized that teaching and education politics are not for me. I held several interesting jobs in university that I believe my younger self would be proud of. I was a Managing Editor for a Newspaper, a Digital Content Editor for Cyber Security Grant Project, and a Children’s Librarian. So, all of those have to do with reading and writing, but none of them were a teacher of sorts, so that will be a half success in my books.
I have always been a very independent person, so naturally as a teenager, I wanted to travel and move out as soon as possible. I really wanted life experience and to begin my journey to maturity. I ultimately wanted to move to Seattle, Washington or Ireland, but I don’t think that is going to happen.
I moved in to the university dorms my first year, then moved into a house with a then coworker, who is now my spouse and father of my child. I would say that is a success. I travelled with said partner to Seattle and Hawaii, but haven’t done any traveling since due to the pandemic. So I will call that a partial success as well.
Now, I am married to a man who’s work is tied to a specific university in Southern California, so there is little to no chance we will ever be moving to Seattle, Ireland, or anywhere for that matter. So I failed high school me’s dream of moving out of California.
CW: mention of miscarriage
My entire life I never wanted to get married or have kids. Those things just weren’t for me. I had a lot of siblings growing up, so naturally, children were not something I craved in my life. I wanted to be a working woman with freedom to travel and pursue hobbies. If I did want kids, I always swore I would adopt.
Obviously, I failed on all of those, and I am so happy that I did. I love my partner. He made me want to get married by being hubby material. He also made me want a family of our own, because he is such a dad. I wanted to give a child a father like him, and I wanted him to get to be a father.
In 2019, I had a miscarriage before I even knew I was pregnant. We didn’t want kids at that time, and had only been together a year, so it worked out. But after that, some biological animal part of my brain made me yearn to get pregnant. So, I also failed my past self when I got pregnant in August of 2020 and had our baby in April 2021. But again, I am so glad that I did.
Now, I also knew, if for some reason I did get married, I wanted a goth wedding. My partner is absolutely not in line with that aesthetic, and I absolutely did not want a wedding. We decided not to have one at all for several reasons, including the pandemic. So, I also failed on that front. That “dream wedding” Pinterest board is now a graveyard of black wedding dresses, dead roses, and bat cakes.
I always had this idea as a teenager, that once I graduated from university and began my independent life, that I would suddenly become a mentally stable individual, wise beyond her years, and have quality friends for life. But that is not the case. I am definitely much more comfortable with myself and confident in who I am, but I still struggle with things. I see a therapist every two weeks for lifelong anxiety, depression, and PTS. I don’t know anything. I am just as lost as everyone else. And, becoming an adult does not magically make someone wise or intelligent. It takes work and time. I am putting the time and energy in to bettering myself, but only 5 years after high school, I am not all that much wiser. So that will also be a fail, but that is okay.
Additionally, I had friends after university, but the pandemic, having a baby, and career pursuit changed all of that. I have one friend who keeps up with me, but she lives on the other side of the country. I have my husband, obviously. Other than that, I don’t really have friends like other people do. I have people I’ve worked with and once was very close with, but life has dragged us apart for one reason or another. For that reason, parenthood has been extremely lonely for me. But, I know that as the baby gets older, I will get more time for me and socializing. So, that is a half win, because I do have a lifelong friend, it’s just hard to find time to talk to her with a needy baby.
But, I am much happier with my one or two friends, my family, and my therapist to talk to. Quality over quantity for sure.
You don’t have to meet unrealistic goals, and you shouldn’t feel bad about taking your time to do things right. Give yourself grace.Pragmastery
I may not have achieved all of my younger self’s goals or expectations, but I am happy with who I am and how my life has turned out. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
This is one example of how we can never know what the future holds, and we are always changing. Change is good.