Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Next Five

I’m 25 now. 25. I just have to keep saying it so that it will sink in. And while it’s sinking in, I’m left here wondering, is this – all that is around me – what I’d dreamed? Is this what I’d wanted? When I pictured my life, when I pictured who I’d be…was it me? Would my five-year old self recognize me? Would she think I was “cool”? Would she want me to be the babysitter? Or would she be disappointed at what her life had mapped out for her in her future? Have I said the right things, made the right decisions? Been nice enough, been sincere enough, loved enough, laughed enough, cried enough?

The past five years have gone by fast…faster than I thought they would…but not faster than every older and wiser woman warned. “You’ve got to enjoy every minute because, one day, you’re going to look back on these times and wish you could have them back.” “Ha” – I scoffed. “You obviously don’t know what I am going through. These times are tough.” And they were.

Five years ago, I was in love. In love, but broken hearted. And I was in the process of transferring colleges to escape. I found solace in the small, religious university that was close to my parents and that only one year prior had caused me so much strife in my efforts to grow up. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave my “real college.”

While I was there, I blossomed into a confident and outgoing woman. I tested my wings and flew a little. I made friends with girls, something I’ve never really been great at doing, and joined a sorority. I asked boys to date parties and formals. I got alcohol poisoning, fell down a flight of stairs and skipped classes (in that order). I went to Victoria’s Secret with my roommate so she could buy scanty lingerie and I graciously slept in a stranger’s room when her boyfriend came into town. My girlfriends and I had midnight walks around campus, sharing stories about boys, classes, parents and the future. We challenged each other to be more, do more and want more. We laughed together and we cried together. We met after classes to sit on the greens outside McClung and people watch. I spent way too much money at Starbucks. And, 9/11 happened and the nation mourned. Frequently, my roommate would wake me up screaming from nightmares after the attacks. I’d go over, wake her up and assure her that she was, in fact, just dreaming. This time.

When I transferred back to Belmont I simply wanted to graduate. Graduate and move on. I worked three jobs to pay for my new private school tuition and took summer classes. Once at Belmont it was obvious that there were other plans in store for me. I got involved in their Greek life, became on orientation leader, got inducted into honor societies and got honored at leadership banquets. I dated a boss’s son and was “let go” when it didn’t work out. I kissed a high-school crush on New Year’s Eve. I started working retail in a place that I would stay with for three more years. But most importantly, I met more girls that I came to love and with whom today, I would be lost without. Girls like Tiffany and Brittany and Abi – who are all so very, very different but who all have one thing in common…they get me. The know me. And they love me no matter what.

And these limited experiences were all in one year. My twentieth year.

All this leads me to wonder, how fast will the next five years go? Does time ever slow down?

Can’t the world just stop.

Stop.

Just for a moment. Let me catch my breath.

Sometimes I feel that if life were an amusement park ride, mine would be operated by the crazy, toothless, liquored-up carnie. He would laugh maniacally as he turned the ride’s gears to go faster and faster, forcing my head back so hard that I couldn’t lift it anymore. The lights of the park would become one long blur, spinning round and round

I’d beg him to stop. Slow down.

Just for a moment. Let me just catch my breath.

But he’d just laugh harder…and perhaps a little spittle would drip down the side of his mouth.

Maybe in the next five I’ll graduate grad school (phew, I better!). Maybe in the next five I’ll fall in love. Maybe I’ll fall out of love. Maybe I’ll give up on love. Maybe I’ll live in Seattle. Maybe I’ll have a dog. Maybe blogging will become passé. Maybe I’ll be back in school getting another degree. Maybe I’ll work in a coffee shop and be the most educated barista there. Maybe in the next five I’ll get married. Maybe we’ll have kids. And maybe we won’t. Maybe he’ll be sterile or I’ll be barren. Maybe I’ll get cancer. Maybe one or both of my parents will die – my dad will be pushing 70 by the end. Maybe I’ll read a novel that speaks to my heart the way none other has. Maybe I’ll write one. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be the happiest I’ve ever been.

9 comments:

MrWriteNow said...

Wait....I'm confused..."fall in love"...I thought you have a boyfriend?

Sarah Ashlee said...

You thought correctly! :)

Jim Gibb said...

I posted a poem in your honor...

Sarah Ashlee said...

:)

EDub said...

you can't spell Belmont w/out EMO

Sarah Ashlee said...

This was so not EMO!

bobuster said...

No matter what the next 5 years bring for you, I'm sure that you will continue to touch other people's lives in a positive way...just as you've done in all your previous years! It is something that you do whether you want to or not, whether you try to or not...it's just who you are!

dp said...

Maybe you'll become a famous writer.

Michael said...

"Life is what happens while you're making other plans." --John Lennon

All I can tell you is to enjoy the journey...yes, it's good to have goals along the way, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the journey.

And you never know what might happen next....

Heaven knows, my life hasn't quite turned out as I envisioned it...but I wouldn't trade it for the world.