I remember that hot June Sunday afternoon like it was yesterday. The skies were dark and threatening, but as we marched onto the football field in our black and crimson red graduation caps and gowns, the sun beamed through the clouds, brightening both the sky and the day. As I sat through the ceremony listening to all we had to look forward to, I was reassured of what I already knew. I was going to make it. I had my entire life planned out and all I had to do was live it. After completing my undergraduate degree I would immediately pursue my Masters and PhD. I was going to become a prosperous and successful member of society that would flood my family with pride.
Nine years later and as fate would have it, life happened. I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be by now; not the great professor, writer, world traveler, or even homeowner I thought my thirty two years would surely yield me. While I did earn my undergraduate degree and have nearly completed my masters degree, my eighteen year old self’s plan has not panned out as I had been so sure it would.
Instead, I am happily remarried to a wonderfully loving, supportive, hard working man whom is one of the most dedicated fathers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. While I have yet to travel the world, I have been blessed with the love of the sweetest little boy that I’m lucky enough to call my son. While I never did become a great professor or writer, I have recently been published in a well known on line publication. I have a part-time job that I love, despite it not being in my field of study. I had the privilege of witnessing my first born nephew come into this great big world and take his first breath; hear his first cries. My husband is a well established fine dining chef and together the three of us, along with our sweet dachshund, Bailey, have experienced more adventures than some families do in a lifetime. We moved from our hometown of Boston to Las Vegas a few years back and made dear friends. Today, we’re in Connecticut closer to family and home and we couldn’t be happier.
Because my graduation day plan didn’t work out as I had so methodically arranged it, I spent the latter of my twenties believing myself to be a failure. I spent countless lonely nights drinking too much wine and asking myself how I could possibly have ended up a twenty something divorcée, single mom, and graduate school drop out? Who was I? Honestly, I had no idea. It wasn’t until around the time I turned thirty that I realized exactly who I was; me. I had been me all along, just not the eighteen year old, idealistic version of myself.
They say “youth is wasted on the young.” I disagree. I believe our youth is meant to serve as a “vision board” of who and what we wish to become that we load with plans, thoughts, and ideas hoping they come to fruition. While I may not have reached all of my goals, I am by no means a failure; I have an exceptional family life, great friends, and I’m beginning to reach professional goals. Best of all, I really, really like myself and I love my life. Had it not been for my youthful hope, optimism, and perhaps over reaching, I may not be here. Youth is definitely not wasted on the young.