Monday, March 2, 2009

In Retrospect: Birthday Musings

This is me when I was 21 years old. It was right before fall semester of my senior year of college. Everyone I knew lived at the Oaks, which is where this picture was taken, during a barbecue. I had moved into my own one bedroom, and was the last one left on campus. I had lost one of my three jobs the previous summer, and unfortunately it was the one that mainly supported me. I had broken up with my boyfriend of 2 years a few months prior. Katie and I had a good summer, and then a rough end. I had recently met a boy who was worried about his mother who had cancer. I was a vegetarian. I had a cat named Mufasa. My nose was pierced and I was about to pierce my lip. My hair was its natural color for the first time in years, and I was growing it out. I had failed Music Appreciation that summer due to never going to class. I didn't care. My best friend of 8 years hadn't spoken to me or anyone else all summer, and it broke my heart. I had absolutely no idea where I'd be or what I would do in a year, what I was going to do when I graduated. Senior year was both an amazing one and a rough one, for me and many of my friends and family.

And now, five years later, I'm turning 26 in a week. A lot has happened since that picture was taken. I stopped being a vegetarian and took out all my piercings. I became a preschool teacher. I graduated college with honors. I had an amazing summer with my little brothers before I left the country. I moved to Japan for a year where I met some of my dearest friends and had adventures I could never have expected to have. I came home and got to live with my father for the first time since I was 8, and to enjoy my step-mom, my little brothers and sister, and my Uncle Daniel and cousin Mel. I was unemployed for a bit and Mel and I took an epic road trip over the Western United States. I worked for the Dallas Observer and hated it. I taught English to McDonald's employees, and then finally started working for Harley Davidson and learned how to underwrite. Mel became a mom. I met Abraham. Scotty and Abraham hooked me on, and taught me how to play pool. We spent a lot of time together and had a lot of fun. I got to know Arielle and am so grateful for it. My family and friends and I spent many storms on the back porch drinking coffee and talking. Many of my friends were now living openly, loving people they had always wanted to, but had been too afraid to. Mel met Josh, fell in love, and had Jacob. After I'd been home a year I moved out of the family home and in with Deanna, and the year I lived with her was hard for me- I went back to school with Abraham and started counseling work. I saw Deanna meet and fall in love with Edgar that year. I watched her apply for, get accepted to law school. My family started a business. Chris and Lauren were back in Dallas, and Chris and I were working together. That summer I went to the state convention as a delegate for Obama, and became precinct chair. That same summer Abraham left, Deanna and I packed up our place, and she went to law school. A lot of goodbyes were said last August. I moved into a new apartment complex with Arielle and Kristen, went to Kansas to spend a week with my great granny, granny, and mom to pack up and move great granny. Came back to a week long cruise with the family. Made friends with Thomas on that cruise. Got closer to Heather. Came home and saw Mel and Josh get married. Met Taylor. Found yoga. Said goodbye to Scotty when he moved to Cincy. Started working for my family's company and left Harley. Became a vegetarian again. Saw Obama win the election and celebrated with friends. Thanksgiving and Christmas with family family family. Miraculously didn't fail out of school despite everything going on. Had an amazing time New Year's '09. Committed to an insane schedule for Spring '09.

And now here I am in my last semester of my master's classes. I plan to leave Dallas and hopefully the country right after Christmas '09. I have some ideas of where I'll be going, but nothing planned out- if I've learned anything, it's that plans are, at best, simply wishes that you throw into the wind. You never know what will happen, and that's the best way in the end. I feel like I've learned so much in the past 5 years. Almost like I learned more during them than in the 21 years prior. I can't wait to see what's next.

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