When I Was Younger…

When I was younger, I had a grand vision of how my life would be when I got older.

I thought I would go to college. I was a smart kid, after all, and I had a dream of an advanced education and subsequent career that would just unfold like magic. That’s just the way it happens, right?

I thought I would marry Mr. Wonderful, who I would meet in college and not sleep with until at least the sixth date. He would be driven and career-oriented. Together we would build a life of wealth and privilege that would never involve digging through couch cushions for gas money.

I thought I would have two (or maybe three, I could never quite decide) well-behaved and perfectly conventional children. They would excel at sports, dance in ballet recitals, and always play well with others.

The perfect life, right? How hard can that be to achieve?

When I Was Younger... Heather (1995)

When I Was Younger… 1995

When I was younger, I had no idea that my life would end up so far from that picture in my mind.

I never thought I would watch my classmates go off to college while I worked at a run-down florist in a bad neighborhood, with no opportunity for advancement.

I never thought I would marry a man who was the exact opposite of “career-oriented”, who quit job after job and expected me to support our family with only my new home business income.

I never thought I would choose a man who enjoyed playing video games more than spending time with his children and wife. I never thought I would end my marriage, after five years of being a married-but-single mother to two small children, as well as the sole breadwinner.

I never thought I would develop a drinking problem and a love of pills, marijuana, and cocaine. I never thought I would spend so many post-divorce weekends sleeping my way through strange men’s beds. I never thought I would feel like I just wanted to die, or that I would make my own blood flow at times, just to feel something in a sea of nothing.

I never thought I would see the inside of a psychiatric ward, or have addictions that I would need to recover from.

I never thought I would marry again, this time to a very different man, a better man. I never thought I would want to start having children again at the age of 29.

I never thought that babies could die, or that my baby could die, or that I would see heartbreak and pain in my husband’s eyes that I could not ease.

I never thought there would come a day when I would call the police, unable to control my own hysterical child during one of her many psychotic episodes with no clear trigger. I never thought I would cry so hard and feel so impotent to fix my child’s mind.

I never thought… so many things.

I’m not sure my younger self would believe any of that if I could go back and tell her. I’m not sure I’d want to tell her, because to tell would surely change the path. I might not have this man who loves me even when I’m crazy and happy and depressed and laughing. I might not have these kids, who make me smile and cry and feel pride {and fear/terror/sadness} and laughter in my heart.

When I was younger, I had a grand vision of how my life would be when I got older.

Now that I am older, I look around at my life and see what a grand vision my life has become. There are so many things that I never thought I would experience, and never would have thought I could survive, when I was younger.

This is not a perfect life, or an easy one.

It’s not the life that I imagined, but I am proud to call it my own.

When I Got Older... Heather (2013)

When I Got Older… 2013

Finish the Sentence Friday

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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet and wild preschool girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

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  • Wow, this post had me feeling so many emotions as I was reading it. First loved seeing the picture of you when you were younger. I graduated high school in 1995 and was on the top of the world at that point and trust I never thought so many different things would happen at that point either to get me where I am today at this very moment. I think when we are young we have so many notions of what life should be like and many things happen to truly change us and shape us into the adults we are now. Wonderful post Heather and thank you for linking up with us!!!

    • I loved this prompt, and this post just flowed out of me while sitting in afternoon car line last week with my journal. Thank you for hosting and commenting… as always!

      • Truly my pleasure to co-host this linkup and ironic, but felt so much the same about this post. When I wrote it, it truly just flowed out of me!! And really again so happy to have you join us 🙂