I’m 55. When I was younger—say, 12—here’s where I thought I’d be at 55: Possibly married, but maybe not. Possibly a child, but maybe not. Definitely living in THE CITY– San Francisco, which was the only city I knew.
I’d most definitely be going out to dinner a lot, seeing plays and musicals, going to bookstores late at night. Going out with friends. Working in some imaginary, high-powered job—a fabulous and rewarding career that would afford me the opportunity to wear spike heels every day for the rest of my life. I’d get my nails and hair done weekly and be impossible smart and chic. And by 55, I would have a LOT of money and be respected. People would ask my opinion on VERY IMPORTANT MATTERS.
In fact, I would probably be more famous than Danielle Steele and I would be both rich AND famous and the biggest quandary I would have on a regular basis would be what to wear at the next red carpet event, where (of course) I would graciously be accepting any award I was ever nominated for. (Think Meryl Streep, except more fabulous and chic).
That’s what I imagined for myself. I would definitely be living in a fabulous high rise apartment with no yard and obviously a housekeeper, since none of that housework stuff interested me in the least.
At the time, I lived on a cattle ranch/farm ten miles from the nearest small town. We made our living in agriculture, which has as many ups and downs as a roller coaster. We worked like field hands. Every morning and afternoon were filled with chores that mainly had to do with cows, hay, feeding and cowshit. Acres of cowshit. Weekends were for middling projects—like running cattle for I don’t know why or what for. I was at the cutting and prodding end, not the doing end.
School vacations were for bigger chores. Thanksgiving was for picking up any walnuts that escaped the general harvest. That was our Christmas money. Christmas was for working cattle.
Easter was for working in the orchards, pruning and picking fup about 100 acres of cut limbs. Most of summer was pulling weeds and setting irrigation pipes.
August (where it just gets up to about 114) was for harvesting prunes, getting ready to pick cotton, which was followed closely by the walnut harvest.
90 days of o ‘dark thirty to dark thirty. If there was any down time, I would lie down in the dirt and take a nap for, oh….five minutes.
I became a teacher and although I wore high heels to work every day to work until I got my present job, the big pressing questions I answered were invariably “When is lunch?” “I miss my moooootttthhhhherrr!” “I need to pee” and “When is recess?” I sincerely doubt that I am remembered by any of my students (maybe one or two….but they don’t remember my name).
I live in a little dinky town (it has four freeway exits, compared to my hometown, which STILL has only two). I don’t own any heels. I own one dress that is suitable for both weddings and funerals. My favorite shoes are purchased at Rite Aide and are the little grandma tennis shoes.
I teach now in a super max prison with people who, at present, want to whack me up in little pieces. I wear the most boring, nondescript DOWDY clothes I can find because looking attractive just makes these pervs whack off. I can’t even wear open toed shoes, since still OTHER pervs will crawl up under my desk and lick my toes. (Eeeeeuuuuwwwww!!)
My children-two-are grown. I like the people they have become.
I have two dogs, who are immensely entertaining.
I have no awards. No housekeeper. I not only keep my own gigantic house, I do all the yardwork on God’s little acre because I can’t find anyone who can do this even fractionally as well as I can.
I read. I knit. I watch Law and Order. I go to bed every night of my life at 9pm. I iron in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep…which is often. I stay in touch with most of my friends via email, since they, too, have no time for midnight runs to a bookstore. (Heck, the closest thing we have to a bookstore here in Dinkytown is WalMart and I would rather poke my eyesout with a magic marker than go there.)
How similar is your life now to how you imagined it twenty years ago? Thirty years ago? Are you exactly where you imagined you’d be? Or are you constantly asking yourself, “How did I get here?” Do you mourn the unrealized plans in your life? Or are you happy no matter what your circumstances?