I automatically think back on my 30 years in terms of neat little chunks of time, but also goals, because I’m a to-do lister.
WHAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME IN HIGH SCHOOL
In high school, I distinctly remember having these goals: certain GPA, graduation, college. I also wanted to be a cheerleader and cheerleading captain (which I was and an All American!). I wanted to be student class president (failed twice!) and I wanted to compete in our nerdy Health Occupations Students of America state competition (I did). I wanted to be on Prom Committee and before attending my high school I wanted to be a Queen – Homecoming or Prom, I didn’t care. I was on the Prom Committee and my high school didn’t have Homecoming, but I was Homecoming Queen at a different school! (ha, long story). When I graduated from high school, my next set of goals (little and small) was outlined very neatly.
WHAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME IN COLLEGE
I wanted to graduate with honors, intern in the arts, join a sorority, be sorority president, study abroad, leave Texas (even if just for a little while). I wanted to be involved on campus; I wanted to learn to play tennis and take dance classes. I wanted to wait tables and tend bar and I wanted to live in an apartment with my friends. Lol, oh the little things. Well, I did all of those things and then some. My tennis is pretty horrendous and my turnout is no good. I worked at a restaurant/bar with the rest of the Greek community. I waited tables before 3pm and served beer after the lunch rush. My favorite living arrangement was living with one of my friends, Medina. One of the surprises of college was being nominated for Homecoming Queen by Delta Upsilon. I didn’t win, but the nomination was enough.
It was in college where I shed the entire notion that I should be married upon or soon after graduation. Looking back now, I think it is so weird that I even thought that. Not knocking the girls that do meet their husbands in college and marry them shortly thereafter; it just wasn’t in my timeline.
When I graduated college (with honors!), my world was a little rocked – now what? There was no natural timeline. There was no neat four little years until graduation. There was only me… aging.
WHAT HAS BEEN IMPORTANT TO ME AFTER COLLEGE
I couldn’t get comfortable with any particular goal. I didn’t know what to do. I left Texas for Boston and snow. My number one goal became working a job where I could put my degree to use. And I did. From that point forward, I was flying by the seat of my pants. Which, for as uptight as I was, was good experience for me. As I spent time working, my career goals became to crystallize. I started seeking more specific career opportunities. Left Boston. Left DC. Left Chicago.
I started basing my goals mostly on career advancement. That’s a good thing to start in your 20s. I was lucky that I had no significant relationships after college, though it felt like a curse during those years. Chasing all these duds and dead ends. I stopped chasing. It was stupid. Then, I met my husband.
At about age 27, I started to feel a shift. My priorities were changing. And now, the goals are more serious because they involve many others and one other in particular – Choy. In the years 2014 and 2015, Choy and I will move from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. We’d like to buy a house. We’ll need a car. And we’ll be looking to start a family. Maybe. All big things. Lots of responsibility. It is really heavy.
But I’ve grown strong in my 30 years.