I asked my mom the other day if I am 23 or 24, because I honestly couldn't remember. I think I've been telling everyone 23. However, my mom informed me that in fact I am 24. Geez. 24 years old. Seems so young right now, but I remember when it seemed so old. And not old as in it was time to head to the nursing home and play with oxygen tanks..but old as in mature and settled with life figured out. If you would've asked me at 14 where I saw myself in 10 years, I would have given you this list:
-high paying job
-living in my hometown
That's honestly probably all I would have known to say. I didn't know there was more to life than raising a family. Although I may not be living out the American Dream I set for myself in 9th grade, I am living out a dream I never even imagined. I have been so blessed to meet new people, travel to new destinations, and embark on new journeys all because I didn't get married and start having kids. Now, one day marriage and kids will be great. Perhaps for some people that is great at 24..or even younger. But for me, it'll be great much later in life.
What got me to really thinking about how old I am was that I was thumbing through old pictures earlier. I saw pictures of my friends from high school and that just seems like eons ago. I was really just a kid then, although you wouldn't have convinced me of that then. But the pictures that really got to me were from college. I thought about the hundreds, literally, of friends I made. Yet at the time I didn't think I had any. And how many places I got to go. Yet at the time all I wanted to do was go home. College was just 2 years ago, but it gets farther away everyday. I started thinking about what life would be like if I went back to UCA now...2 years later. All my friends have graduated. Most are married, many with kids. They have houses and careers. What if we were all taken for a day and put back into college? Would we change the person we hung out with that day? I mean..knowing what we know now..about how each of us have molded ourselves...what would we change?
I love going back to Conway. It's neat to see everyone, sure, but it makes me feel accomplished. I didn't spend many evenings out in Faulkner County. I rushed through homework in order to go home every weekend. I probably didn't enjoy college as much as I could have...but I am sure enjoying where it got me. But if I could go back...for one day...what exactly would I do differently?
I wouldn't take for granted my summer job at Camp War Eagle, working with hundreds of people my age for an entire summer. I would get extra marinara in the Student Center, because I never spent all of my DCB anyway. I'd shoot another music video with my roommates, despite it being our biggest nightmare today. I'd wear just as many t-shirts...cook a little more...stay off of Facebook (ok..maybe not)...laugh with my best friend in the entire world...and have 2 catch phrase nights per week instead of just 1. And I definitely wouldn't love as fast, but I'd love a lot deeper.
Ironically, I got to go to my alma mater this past weekend. And I did spend time with Katie...just laughing and playing. To top that off, we spent time with some other old friends. I got to have my one day back.
Five years ago I was a sophomore in college. I met this young man who just really caught my eye. He was so stinkin' cute...and I couldn't believe he wanted to hang out with me. That lasted for a week or 2, really, that's all. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I'm not so sure why. I was sitting at the new fountain, and I got a text message from him. He said he was going to go back to his ex-girlfriend. I saw him a few days later...and for some reason it just tore my heart out. I suppose because I was young and naive and thought everyone should love me like my momma does. Or maybe I did like him a lot. I couldn't tell you. But it broke my heart.
He hung out with Katie and me last week. Five years makes a world of difference. We're both grown now...with steady jobs, houses, and bright futures. When I was driving home, I started thinking about the irony of that situation...and how 5 years changed both of us dramatically. How it's changed all of us...every single friend I made. Sometimes it is fun to go back...to reminisce...to be carefree again. But at the end of the day I yearn the most to come home to my house so that I can prepare to be a better teacher than I was the day before. Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same...how true those lyrics are! We have to keep thrusting forward in life...turning the page to see the next chapter unveiled. I'm not too sure what God will write in the next few days, weeks, or years. I suppose that's the exciting part! I never thought in a million years God would put me face to face with someone who hurt me so long ago. And never in a billion years would I have expected to meet that person with such different eyes. But the most overwhelming thing to take in is that never in a trillion years would I have guessed that as much as I've changed, he's been molded even more. And while all of our circumstances and feelings have changed in 5 years, I believe some things never change...