Sunday, January 12, 2014

What Would You Think Of Yourself?

What would my 14-year-old self tell my 24-year-old self? Flashback!

To all my friends turning 25 this year.  

Nick asked me this question this morning.
"What do you think your 14-year-old self would think of your 24-year-old self? Do you think you'd be proud or do you think that you have done what you said you would have?"

My answer was simple. I would be proud; I have succeeded all my expectations and goals. When I was 14 I had NO idea what I wanted out of my life. I thought I was interested in being a real estate agent, I was very shy and VERY much a teenage girl. I can only imagine that at 14 I would only hope to be married or at least be in a healthy relationship, have a good job and maybe even kids.

Now for a change of pace… 

Nick was playing the PS3 this morning and I was checking the grocery circulars to pull together our shopping list and I put my [totally awesome] Beats headphones in (thanks for the amazing Christmas gift, baby) and searched YouTube for the top songs of 2007. That was the year I graduated high school and with all the memories running through my head I, of course, wanted to listen to some music that I heard so much of during one of the most influential years of my life.

When I started listening to the music I started having flashbacks of my senior year of high school, my first year of college and the first year that really started my adult journey. Looking back I was 18-years old and moved three hours from home by myself in a town where I knew one person. I was the first one in my immediate family to go to a university and had navigated all the application processes, tests, living arranges, etc (with general help from my mom; not to shadow all the amazing enabling that my parents did for me) pretty solo. I am far enough removed from high school to look back on that now and see how incredibly proud I should be of myself.

As I went through high school I gained insight into which direction I wanted my life to go in, but it wasn't until I was a senior in college that I actually found the solid foundation to finish college with. I wanted to be a journalist, yet I loved (and still do) children. I knew I wanted to make a difference in children's lives and I also wanted to write. Being at The University of Alabama (Roll Tide) it was only a matter of time before I delved into sports journalism. With that being said I decided to relive my senior year and finished as a double major.

While in college I contributed as a designer to The Crimson White, contributing designer and writer to Touchdown Alabama Magazine and eventually climbed the ladder to Managing Editor of that publication. In addition to my journalistic endeavors I held down a part-time job on campus and had a full semester internship with The Tuscaloosa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (I never took the time to really reflect on all that hard work and how it has paid off until recently).

After I FINALLY graduated college I moved to Charleston, S.C., where I started working at the Mayor's Office for Children, Youth and Families as a Youth Programs Manager in a year-long program called AmeriCorps*VISTA. I worked under two amazing bosses and gained some valuable professional experience. After that they decided to keep me on (after an interview) as a step above what I originally was. Now I am an AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader; I now help co-lead 25 VISTAs (which is what I was last year).

Within the last year I have come to the realization I am nothing like what I thought I would be. I am not worse nor am I better because I honestly didn't know what I would be like at 24. I just knew I wanted to be; simply be. I am right on schedule with that. I have begun my professional journey, met an amazing man, live by the ocean (one of my life-long dreams) and love what I do. I am surrounded by amazing family and great friends.

My 14-year-old self should be overly happy with the 24-year-old self she has become because the 24-year-old self is extremely happy right now! So, to all you 24-year-olds who are flirting with the big 25 years just learn to be happy. If you're not happy change it. Think back to what you wanted when you were 14 or 15 and reevaluate what you're doing now. In four months I could change my mind and decide I am not as happy as I should be or that I am not where I want to be, but I will be able to look back at this and know that I should be proud of what I have done and what I am doing.

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