Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old Enough

I always think it's weird to be old enough to say I've done something or known someone for over ten years.

But nine or ten years ago, a bunch of us in our dorm gang (erm, as in group of people who hang out, not as in snapping dancing knife-wielding hooligans) made up a list of where we'd all be in ten or twenty years.

Already everything is wrong, but still, isn't that funny? How our perceptions and hopes and realities can change so utterly?

I, of course, was to be the jet-setting fancypants with fabulous apartments in Paris and London (or was it New York and Paris?) and the friends would visit me on the holidays.

Ten years later, in matter of fact, I am a jet-setting lazypants with an adorable apartment in New York who has to come visit everyone at home because for some reason no one wants to come to New York!

We predicted three of the boys married. One of those is married with a child who must be....three? five? we've never met the little boy. Another boy, not from those three, is also married with a child, who is most probably in the two-three range; we haven't met him/her either. Oh, and yet another boy is engaged. Maybe married by now; who knows, nobody tells me anything.

Two of us girls are now teachers. Neither of us planned to be.

None of us girls are married. I'm not sure if any of us planned to be by now. I certainly didn't, but I can't speak for the others.

So now it's ten years since our freshman year of college, and life is real and really different.

What will happen in the next ten years?

The cusp of 40 sounds a lot more daunting than the cusp of 30, I'll tell you that much. (And I am the youngest of the crowd, so several of them are already 29.) It seems like grown-up life is quickly encroaching if it hasn't already. We have to have, like, real jobs and stuff. And be serious and adult and shit.

So what do I think life will hold for me in the next ten years? First of all, based on the previous ten years, things will happen that I would never be able to dream up. But I think there are some patterns that could conceivably continue or emerge.

For example, I'm quite sure I will continue to travel often. In ten years I hope to have visited at least two new continents (South America, Africa, or Asia, perhaps)(I suppose that's all that's really left, since Antarctica is way too expensive and I've already been to North America, Europe and Australia). I wonder if I will have been able to live abroad? That is still such a potent pipe dream of mine. God, I would adore living in Europe. Living Down Under would be divine too.

Which brings me to work! I suppose I have to have a career in order to have money which will allow me to globe-trot. I am certain that I will find a new job for next year, and it's quite likely that I could move out of state again. Because I am unimaginative and scared, I'm sure I will teach for a couple years, maybe a couple more if it's a cushier situation. I'm quite sure I don't want to be a career teacher, but I'm scared I'll be too lazy to leave. As long as I'm dreaming, I'll have a photography business on the side. Ooh! Maybe I'll be a travel writer/photographer! Yes, I'll take that, please!

By 38, if I'm into that kind of thing, I would hope to be married. I've never been sure I want to, but if the right person is there and situations are good, then I think I'd definitely be into it. Ten years is a long time from now, but I would like to hope Boyfriend is still around (as more than that, after all that time!). However, a part of me does expect to be on my own for the long term. I've always been independent and though it would be lonely, I'm sure I'd deal just fine.

Speaking of lonely, I've never been positive I wanted kids. Actually, grown kids seem kind of cool (especially with the spinster idea), but the baby thing...yikes. My two youngest siblings were born when I was nine and thirteen, so I did a lot with them and have zero illusions about the beauty of diaper changes and two AM crying. Again though, if I decide to have one, I hope that when I'm 38 it would be a toddler or in school. Still though, picturing me as someone's mom is way, way too weird. Even the pregnancy thing...shudder. Aren't I too young for that?! That's a grown-up thing! But I do like the idea of shaping a future citizen, teaching it languages and sharing books, taking it around the world and doing fun activities.

I have to say, watching and reading about so many people's journeys through these things, through blogs and flickr, has made it all (marriage and parenthood) seem more normal and kind of more interesting. Fascinating, really. But...ssh, don't tell.

In the next ten years, I don't care about acquiring much material wealth, but I do want to be comfortable, independent, with some quality surroundings. A nice camera, a real couch someday, an awesome big soft bed, a cushy armchair with piles of soft blankets for curling up with books, actual bookshelves filled with my books and photo albums. Really, what I desperately want is to have ALL my things together in one place, in *my* place. My entire life, belongings have been spread among and lost at different houses (oh, the joys of joint custody), and I *hate* that. I have a constant low-level anxiety about my stuff--at this point, I don't even know what I have back home, where things are, or in what quality. So when it comes time to be a real adult, I will gather with me all my things. I'll probably need a lot of space, but it will be worth it.

In general, I want to be happy and satisfied with my life in ten years. I hope to make and accomplish some goals. I hope to be surrounded by good friends. I want to be happy with the decisions I've made and the person I've become.


Maggie said...

"And be serious and adult and shit."


Maggie said...

But, for real, those sound like reasonable goals. And from what I hear, 30s are a lot like 20s, except you have a bit more security.

Chance said...

I've known my best friends for twenty years.

yes, it's a scary as it sounds.

Still, the alternative isn't too attractive.

ms. v. said...

If boyfriend IS still around - as something more - then I better have gone to that wedding! ;-)