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by Carmen

In high school I felt envious of the kids who knew exactly what they’d do after graduation and beyond.  Schools and majors had been chosen, summer internships mulled over.  Personally, I had no clue about my future and really would have loved for someone to hand me a map of my life, so that I could stop with all the angsty shit that kept me up at night.

Fast forward 18 years and I want to go back and tell my young self to chill already.  The truth is that life rarely goes as planned, and what you feel strongly about right now, could completely change 5 years from now.

Case in point:  In my early 20s I was adamant that I’d never have kids – and here I am raising 3.  They’re here not because they were “accidents” but because one day, years later, my thinking changed.  All the things that made a “no kids” life sound appealing, no longer mattered.  In my case I grew, matured, and re-evaluated and found myself in a completely different head space than I expected to.

Some other things my young self would be surprised about:

  • Being home with your kids while they’re little isn’t the horrible, soul-sucking misery you imagined it to be.  You should go back and apologize to the stay-at-home moms in your old neighbourhood for the scornful, mean things you thought about them.
  • Art does matter, and you should dedicate your life to creating it because it’s what makes you happy.  Stop feeling like you can’t follow your dream simply because it doesn’t come with a benefits package and retirement plan.
  • Originality is important.  Stop trying to blend in.  Life gets a lot more fun when that light bulb comes on.
How about you?  Have you stayed true to the course you set in your younger years?  Or have you veered and deflected in ways you never would have imagined?
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  1. May 17, 2012

    I think i deflect everyday. ONLY because it keeps life interesting and fun! of course, with three kids and owning a business I have to be somewhat responsible but some days are better left, unplanned. By the way, i get to be a stay at home mom one day a week and love it. I wish I could do it every day as my kiddos are young but reality checks in…gotta also pay some bills. Thanks for sharing! It made me feel less guility for earlier life’s deflections and the ones I will deflect today!

  2. lifeineden #
    May 17, 2012

    I’m the epitome of deflection. Went to college for photojournalism, shifted to writing and journalism. Then changed major to biology with intent to do science journalism. Then wound up going for my masters in biology (cutting up caterpillars all day) with the intent to go to Germany to get my PhD. Little different. Then VEERED big time, ditched the PhD and applied to veterinary school on a whim. Got in and went. Then 10 years later I’m at home with kids and back to photography. Who knew?

  3. pencilfox #
    May 17, 2012

    jumped into college straight away, two weeks after high-school graduation. graduated as a nurse at the age of 20. have been in the career all this time. i do not regret it. however: i DO intersperse art and originality in my life, to balance out the seriousness of the path i am on.
    so when i write a “profile” i say this about myself: nurse by trade. artist by hobby.

    i was never able to have borne children. but right now, my husband’s 25-year old nephew is living with us, and i’m having a blast “mothering” this man-child….

    life is good.

  4. May 17, 2012

    I struggle with deflecting everyday. I’m stubborn. I like to be right. If I choose one thing and then switch, what authority do I have in the eyes of others? But I switch often because life gives more and more information to me. Life changes. And I have the right to change and I have to right to be adamant/confident about my switch. I’ve gotten better saying, “Yes, I believed this. But now, this makes sense.” More important, I’ve be more forgiving in people’s ability to switch and if they disagree with me.

  5. Becky #
    May 17, 2012

    What’s funny is, I’m not sure I ever really had a plan. It’s all been done kind of piecemeal, in the moment. I must have some idea, somehow, but I’ve never been really able to articulate it. I knew when I was off though. Working in a corporate setting, pretending to be someone I wasn’t, it took about two years then I lost it. Broke down in a grocery store parking lot because I forgot a coupon, and I went back to school not long after. I still get asked all the time what I’m going to do when I’m out of school and I have no idea. I’ve got some time to figure it out but mostly I’m just waiting for the lightbulb to go on.

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