Well kids, it’s the beginning of the end; my twenty-fifth birthday is on Monday.
Yup, the big quarter-century label is coming for me faster than the cops who are hassling me to pay all my parking tickets.
I’m facing my last weekend as a twenty-four-year old and forcing myself to look back and reflect on how exactly I got here. You know, in life and stuff.
I don’t even remember anything that happened before third grade, so let’s start there.
I was six-years-old, sitting on a rock outside my grandparent’s barn holding a stray cat my uncles had taken in thinking I wanted to be a veterinarian.
It was that easy. You just grew up, found something you loved, and did it.
I loved animals; I owned a hamster, liked petting cats, and frequently wrestled with dogs; so I was going to be a vet.
When I was eight, I got pissed off at my parents and decided that I wanted to renounce my position in the family and live off the land like Pocahontas. I gathered up all the belongings any eight-year-old would need, put them in a backpack, and left my house in a fury to make a statement.
My mother didn’t notice I was gone for over four hours, she just thought I was playing outside like a normal girl when I returned home for dinner because I had forgotten all about the food and shelter portion of survival outside a house. I did, however, bring an extensive collection of cds for my battery operated discman, and a slew of J-14 magazines.
At age ten, I remember falling so deeply in love with Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic to the point where I was determined to become an actress. I joined the school play in fifth grade; I did anything I could to sabotage my family’s home videos and get experience in the spotlight.
The only issue was I had no acting talent, which was evident in my being cast as ‘stage crew,’ and my mother was not supportive in my newfound endeavor to become rich and famous before I could correctly spell the word ‘business’ on the first try.
Which, in hindsight, my adolescent track record with drinking and recreational drug use would have landed me in the same position as Lindsay Lohan right now. So thanks, Mom. You did me a solid on crushing that fifth grade dream.
I actually blacked out all of middle school and don’t remember anything except for when Mrs. Townsend gave my friend Jocelyn and I a detention because we purposely put our left hands instead of our right hands over our hearts one too many times during the pledge of allegiance. Apparently that was disrespectful.
All throughout high school I was almost certain that I wanted to go into marketing and advertising. It was what my dad did. He had season tickets to the New York Rangers and frequently used us kids as pilot testers for his agency’s commercials. It seemed like a pretty badass career field.
I never listened when he told me how much he hated his job, never saw how overworked and overtired he was, and I conveniently never remembered how often he wasn’t there for the most formative years of my life.
It wasn’t until college that I realized I was extremely lazy and wanted summers off for the rest of my life. The stark reality of the real life work force haunted my dreams and made me gain over thirty pounds.
That last statement was false, I gained thirty pounds because I was in college and drank handles of vodka after eating two-hour dinners at the all you can eat dining halls. And I refused to exercise because the gym was too crowded and stretchy pants were in style.
I was twenty-one, fat, and going into my senior year at UConn when my mother pointed out how much I loved working with children. I decided I was going to switch my major with four credits short of a Media Communications degree and pursue teaching; a field in which I had absolutely no idea what exactly was entailed. But it had summers off.
At the end of my schooling, I had collected a Masters in Teaching, a Bachelors in Media Communications, and a Bachelors in English. I wanted to be a middle school English teacher in Boston. So I moved; because finding teaching jobs in a city at a reputable school, with nice kids, and good pay is really easy to do.
It wasn’t. I was twenty-three and unemployed.
I do have a job now, though. And I like it. But I didn’t use any of my degrees to get it, which is just both comical and completely depressing all at the same time.
Ultimately, I learned it was never going to be as easy as finding something you love and doing it.
With three days left until twenty-five inevitably smacks me in the face like my hangover will on Sunday, I am humbled by all the failed dreams I’ve had, and cling to the ones I still have. There is no way of knowing which will come true, and which, if not all, will be epic failures.
I can say wholeheartedly that I have not a goddamn clue in the world where I will be in five years. None of my previous ambitions really panned out the way I wanted or wished, but I can only hope that with this birthday, I will magically be gifted the knowledge of what the fuck I am supposed to be doing with my life.
Until then, we can always thank the high heavens and my mother that I did not become Lindsay Lohan or Pocahontas.