An omniscient account: A Decade of Growth. They say hindsight is 20/20.
At twenty: I've been in my first apartment for exactly two months. Splitting rent with two other girls. One is my best friend. One is her acquaintance. I'm learning about how you make rent, how you split kitchen-duty, and how you concentrate on taking 18 credit hours (stupid) when you're in a newly long distance relationship with a guy who's just not that into you. (You cling really tightly, in case you're wondering.)
At twenty-one: Still in that long distance relationship. We've now broken up twice in the last year. He's broken my heart TWICE in the past two years. But I take him back. My friends forgive me for being stupid. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and am well on my way to becoming a social worker. Which is what I set out to do.
At twenty-two: Two weeks after I'm twenty two. I finally say good-bye to Mr. He-is-not-that-into-you for good. But only because he made me. Only because he was a no-show when he really should have shown. He gave me the "maybe some day we can really make this work" speech. And I gave him the teary "I can't do this any more my heart is breaking" speech. Then I took a walk in my sweat pants and smoked cigarettes. My heart was broken. But broken hearts can mend.
At twenty-two: I meet a guy! I once described a man that I hadn't met yet to a friend. I was dating Mr. Aforementioned A-Hole and described this guy to my friend, when I whispered thoughts of how I might not end up with Mr. A-Hole. I mentioned a guy that was literate, looked a little like a Ken doll, and that would do homework with me in the library. I questioned to this friend how do you spend your life (yes, I talked at length with Mr. A-Hole about lifelong commitments. Stupid. Yes.) with someone who is not all that intelligent, who does not read, who does not know much beyond his own...self? Do you know what I did with my future husband the second weekend after I met him? I ran into him at our university's library, studied with him, and walked out with him after he wrote me an impromptu poem about running into me at the library. Love. And yup, he looked a little to me like a Ken doll.
I graduated. First generation bachelor's degree. Social Work Student of the Year. With honors. And a medal to match.
At twenty-three: Career social worker. Civil servant. New wife. Dog owner.
At twenty-four: More of the same. Fixing up our starter home. Loving my husband. Perhaps starting my 401K.
At twenty-five: Man, that felt like a milestone. A quarter of a century. Still fixing up house. Talking babies.
At twenty-six: Having a baby. Brenna Michelle. July 2003.
Started grad school. I'm gonna be a school teacher. For kids with disabilities.
At twenty-seven: Grad school. Raising daughter. Working full-time. Living the dream.
At twenty-eight: New job. Moving to Omaha. Finishing grad school. Whoops! Pregnant with #2. And happy.
At twenty-nine: I now have a son. Mason David April 2006. I teach high school special ed. I learn about the fragility of life. And gratitude for my own. I have two kids. And still have a husband. I'm realizing that I did marry young. And that's okay.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Saying goodbye to my twenties. I thought it would be hard. In a day and a half, I'm beginning my 30's. Which they say...you know. That's crap. I want my 30's to be my 30's. I've earned it. I've earned the right to not be the baby any more. To not be the youngest at everything I do.
I have been working with people with disabilities for 11 (!) years. Which is surprising to me. Because it is but a blink. My eyes are wide open though.
What is next: I can't wait for chapter three.