Ten Years…

When I was thirteen, my English teacher had us write letters to our twenty-three-year-old self about where we saw ourselves at that age. I remember writing the letter, and how I saw myself at a major University studying marine biology and wanting to be a marine veterinarian. I was convinced I was going to move to Australia and study the Great Barrier Reef or be a marine vet and work with marine life at places like SeaWorld. I was a very independent child, and even more-so as I got older. I didn’t see myself being married at twenty-three. I would be just starting out. At thirteen, I thought I had it all figured out.

Then I realized just how much college cost, and how far away Australia was, and how long it would take to become a vet, and my plans changed rather drastically.

My dad taught me to be realistic. He wanted nothing more than for me to go as far and as high up the success ladder and I could, and do it in a career path I liked. In 10th grade, we toured a local vocational center, and I found the industrial drafting room. I saw students drawing houseplans and designing different mechanical pieces, and I went home and told my parents that I had found what I wanted to pursue. They didn’t agree, they thought it would be a waste of time, drafters don’t make much money…but architects do.

Confession Time: If you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to do it anyway.

I was seventeen when I got my first car…and my first car payment to go along with it. The week after my dad gave me my keys, I my first job. I was a senior in High School, and instead of parties and hanging out with friends, I went straight to work after school and on weekends. I learned early on bills before play, responsibilites before fun. I paid for all of my senior activities and rites of passage: senior portraits, prom dress, year books, the two trips I took that year. And they weren’t “Senior Trips.” Both were competitions, one with band (which I got a full scholarship with) and the other with SkillsUSA (which landed me a full technical scholarship as well). I paid for those trips by fundraising and my own money from working. Needless to say, my senior year experience wasn’t your typical experience.

College wasn’t either. I was dead set on staying in the dorms, but my parents said no. I went to school from 7am-3:30pm, band practice from 4pm-6pm, and work from 6pm-close. Honestly, I busted my ass in school. I didn’t have time for boys. I was caught up in making a name for myself. I went on a few dates, but nothing serious ever came of it because I didn’t have time nor the patience for those boys. I was very proud of myself for working so hard, but I honestly think they were intimidated by a woman with so much passion for her future.

Then, heartbreak struck.

I had a best friend who was in band with me throughout college. He wasn’t from the town we went to school in, actually he was from about an hour away and lived in the dorms during the semesters. We became friends, flirted a little, then things took a turn towards something more, and he announced he had a girlfriend back home.

I was a homewrecker at 20. Yes, I knew he had a girlfriend but did that stop me from seeing him? Nope. I was stupid…I know. I’m a horrible person. Or I was one, anyway…

After two years of this “more-than-friends-but-he-wanted-both-of-us-because-he-was-a-masognisitic-pig” kind of ordeal, I met the man who is now my husband. This friend tried to get me to ignore him, telling me that he would be no good for me, but I knew I had a choice: stay in this toxic relationship and eventually be thrown to the side when summer was here, or see where things go with this too-good-to-be-true guy that literally fell in my lap one day. After a few weeks of being unsure and testing the waters to see if he was another wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing kind of guy, he turned out to be everything I could have ever dreamed of and more. I jumped feet first into getting to know Tyler and as things progressed, I never looked back to who I was before we met.

Nine months later, we were engaged, and 3 years after that, here we are!

Obviously, my “best years” didn’t go as planned. I spent college working too hard to be able to be the “crazy college kid.” I didn’t have a high school sweetheart, so I went through the stress of college mostly alone. Most of my high school friends went off to Universities while I stayed at the local JUCO. But, I did get a degree that landed me a good job right after graduation. I made friends with people who are now my co-workers, one of which is my best friend who also helped me get my current job that I love. I met my husband through all of the chaos, and we have a good life together. What I’m trying to get at, is that even though we may THINK we know what our life is going to turn out to be, we really have no clue. At thirteen, i thought I would be traveling and working with whales and dolphins, but I’m married and working at a job that I did not go to school for less than 15 minutes from the place I grew up. But honestly, I like this version of my life better.

No matter what we do or plan to do, things can change. Sometimes for the worse, other times for the better. I struggled and went through so much heartache only to find the man I married when I had given up hope of being happy. Tyler tells me the same thing, that he had given up hope and then somehow we just fell in each other’s laps. I call it fate. We both went through so much and came out with each other at the end. And it gave way to a whole new beginning. So, ten years ago, I saw my life as completely different than it is today. Ten years from now, I have a feeling I will be pleasantly surprised at where I am then. What do I hope for in ten years? I hope to be taking my kids to football practice or piano lessons, being a mom and the best wife I know how to be. I hope my grandparents are still around, and that my parents are healthy and happy as they are now…I hope everything is still they way it is today…but with a few mini-me’s running around the house!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday! Its a beautiful day here in Mississippi, muggy and 100*F before noon, but we are truly blessed.

**My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the shooting in Lafayette, LA last night. This year has been full of nothing but tragedy and heartbreak, and this incident is a little too close to home for my comfort! Praying for recovery of those injured, and peace of those involved. **

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