When I was 18, I had a life plan. I was going to go to college at Ashland University, meet a man (I knew my high school relationship wouldn’t last), and get married the summer/fall after graduation when I was 22. By 26, I would have one baby. By 28, another. And a farmhouse, an awesome job, and maybe the desire to write still.
Here’s what really happened:
I didn’t find anyone at college that I could have married (some will argue this–it will be discussed another time), and I majored in Creative Writing, which left little to no opportunity in the job market without a Master’s Degree. My advisor, Joe, looked at me in December and said, “How do you feel about grad school?”
Having no real reason to stick around and suffer the consequences of my choice of major, I said, “Sure.”
“UNCW,” he said. “Apply.”
And I did. Because if you know anything about me, I did everything Joe told me to do (let’s not be freaks here). I respected him as a man, a professor, a writer, and a friend. So I applied to one graduate school (the best in the country for creative nonfiction – WOOT!) in Wilmington, North Carolina, and I happened to get in.
I’m sure I angered the HELL out of the professors, because I never responded, never accepted, never did anything. I told myself (not them) that I wouldn’t go there unless I got some financial aid, and a teaching assistantship. Two days later, I did, and I couldn’t refuse the offer.
So I went, and I spent three years in NC from the ages of 22-25. I still did not find a man down there…until the end of my second year, when I was 23. I saw him walking around my neighborhood. His name was…is Mike. Mike moved to PA and sent my 24th birthday present in the mail. He gave me my 25th when I came home from grad school.
A week ago, my mother (whose birthday is 5 days before mine) looked at me and said, “I turned 26, and 5 days later, I had you.”
Today, I turn 26. I am currently 4 years behind on my life plan. There is no ring, there are no babies. But I do have a great job, two degrees, and an incredible man who came to see me a day early, so that for the first time in 2 years, we could be together on my birthday. I’ll complain every day about not being a little closer to that original life plan, but truth-be-told, I’m thankful that I didn’t meet someone at Ashland, and that Joe said, “Go to UNCW,” and that Mike happened to be walking past me one day.
Let’s see what this year brings. 🙂