Looking back on my life, I remember being a little girl and thinking about all the dreams I wanted to accomplish when I was "grown up." I wanted to go to college, get married when I was 26 and have babies and a career by the time I turned 30. In short, I wanted to "do it all."
Now I'm 24, married and living 2,700 miles away from my friends and family. My life has in no way turned out how I had thought or even hoped and although I am 100% in love with my husband it is hard to come to grips with the reality that dreams don't always come true.
I don't regret marrying my soul mate, but the navy has certainly put both our dreams on hold. I always strove to be the best at what I did, whether it was getting honor roll in school, running varsity for cross country or getting solos in choir, I just wanted my chance to shine. I wanted so much for my mom to notice me and love me that I tried any and every activity to get her attention. And my biggest goal was to go to college and get my degree so I could make my mom and grandparents proud.
The only problem was that I come from a single parent family and had no money to go to a university. My mom had remarried at the time, but he had 3 kids of his own, and two of them were already going to universities on his dime so we didn't exactly have money for me to go. I couldn't qualify for any grants or scholarships so I had no way of paying the ridiculous amounts of money for tuition.
I had great grades in high school but never even took the sat's because I knew I couldn't afford to go. Instead I got a job at 16 and have been working ever since. I enrolled in community college after I graduated and started working full time to try and support myself (which isn't easy to do in ca where everything is insanely expensive!). I always had to put work before school because I needed the money, and here I am six years later and still no degree.
Now it has been nearly two years since I've been able to go to school (mostly because of the navy and their impeccable timing) and I feel like my life is just passing me by. It's like I'm standing still while the whole world keeps moving forward. I've seen so many of my friends from high school graduate college and go on to have successful careers and meanwhile I'm stuck in a job I hate and can't muster the money or energy to go to school and actually finish my degree.
On the other hand, the friends who aren't going to school are having babies by the boat load. (And no I'm NOT exaggerating either). Last year my sister, cousin, and one of my best friends all had a baby. This year my bf from high school had her 2nd baby! And I know about 7 other girls right now who are expecting in the next few months.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly wanting a baby right now because let's face it, my husband and I have spent less than six months together because of him joining the navy and getting deployed back to back. We haven't exactly had any time to be newlyweds or just spend enjoying life before kids. I know everything changes TREMENDOUSLY once you start a family, and we both want time to focus on each other and living life to the fullest, (aka being selfish for a bit longer) before we go down that road.
But if I'm not doing one or the other, then where does that leave me? I feel like I'm stuck in limbo right now...just drifting along through life. Not really taking any chances or making any decisions to make my dreams come true.
I've been thinking about all this a lot lately and just wish I could make the right decision. After toying with the idea of becoming a history teacher I've finally decided it's just not for me. I love history and would like to share the passion I have for it with others, but I simply don't think I could handle being a teacher.
I really want a career I'll love and something I've ALWAYS been interested in is fashion. My dream job would be a visual merchandiser for a retail store or a buyer, but there is that nagging fear of failure in the back of my mind that is keeping me from even trying. It's that little voice whispering, "you'll never make it," that has kept me from even trying all this time.
Not to mention the thousands of dollars of debt that I would accumulate in student loans if I went back to school to get my degree in fashion merchandising. Going to FIDM or The Art Institute just isn't in our budget right now, but my biggest fear is having regrets. I don't want to look back on my life one day and think, "I wish I had pursued that dream!" And I know that if I stay at the job I'm at now I'll end up blowing my brains out sooner or later simply from sheer boredom and lack of creativity!
I just wish there were a simple solution to all this, and that I could snap my fingers and have it "all figured out," but I'm a grown up now, and I know better. Life isn't that easy, it's not that simple. It just isn't...