I don’t think life ever turns out the way we expect it to. Where I am right now, what I’m doing right now, is not what I would have in a million years would have dreamed for myself. But somehow, maybe it’s better?
I remember being in elementary and middle school (I went to private school), looking forward to going to a public high school. I thought it would be like it was on tv, and that cute boys would ask me on dates all the time, and that I would feel totally comfortable rejecting them. I thought they would get shaky asking for my number, and that I would laugh and the whole situation would be adorable. But high school wasn’t like that. I had a lot of “boyfriends” in high school, but I can only remember going on one actual date. Maybe it’s just me, but small town kids here don’t seem to be old fashioned enough to date. Or maybe I’ve just never dated a dater. But I digress (I tend to do that).
I thought that I would write songs, and that there would talent shows, and I would maybe become some famous singer. I’ve always loved music, but as I kid I was much more ambitious about it. As I grew, I realized that whatever talent I might have musically, it’s not good enough to live off of. And I’ve always been okay with that. Dreams were just dreams back then.
Finishing up middle school, I thought I might be a lawyer, but then I realized how many people hate lawyers (even though some of them do a lot of good). I was hitting that point when I was kinda over school anyway, so I didn’t want to go to years of college to be hated.
Starting high school, I wanted to be an actress. I tried out for plays, but I thought I was much better than the parts I was offered. I loved theatre and musicals and singing and being someone who I wasn’t. And as much as I loved it, I knew how many people thought it was lame. They loved me, but loving them pulled me away from that life.
Looking back at that time though, as much as I loved theatre, as much as I still do, I don’t feel the same way about getting up in front of people and playing a part. Now it just feels silly to me. It’s hard enough for me to simply be myself.
As a fifteen year old I turned my life around and decided I was going to go into ministry (of all things). I wanted to be a speaker and I wanted to help change teenagers lives. Really, maybe I just wanted my life changed over and over again. This is the dream I held onto the longest. I fell in love with teaching others what I knew about life, and God, and love. And then I went to college.
When I moved out of my little town and the world opened up around me, I realized it is much too big for someone like me. How could I pretend to help others with their lives, when I couldn’t even figure my own life out? I couldn’t hold myself together. And my passion died. It still hasn’t come back.
When I decided I was done with life and everything else, I began writing again. And I fell in love. I’m still in love. But maybe my relationship with writing is kind of like a marriage. I have to choose to love it sometimes, because I don’t spend enough time doing it these days. I wanted to move to Portland and finish my book and publish it, or maybe go on a spoken word tour, or maybe just fall in love. But none of these things happened. I am almost back in my little town, somewhere I never wanted to be. I am living in a house at a camp, working at a hotel, and feeling myself drift.
I am not becoming the successful person I thought I might be, but I like who I am. I don’t really care that my life isn’t turning out BIG right now, because I’ve always been small. It’s the small things we remember anyway.
So maybe I will finish my book someday. Maybe I will be a successful writer in someone else’s eyes. But right now, this is what I’m writing, and no matter how many people read it, love it, share it, or are impacted by it, I still see it as a success. I’m still breathing. I’m still writing. And I’m still changing.
Right now I’m experiencing all the things that I’ve pushed away for the last few years. I’m enjoying hanging out with new people, and drinking too much with friends, and laughing too hard at the things people say. I’m enjoying making people smile, and flirting with foreigners who are just passing through, and actually making memories that are more than just hanging out with the same three people. I’m enjoying going on dates, and figuring out feelings, and not knowing what tomorrow holds. I’m enjoying feeling free, for the first time in a long time.
And it’s not what I expected.