Today I am 26 years old. In the hour that I’ve been awake (thanks Samuel) I’ve thought about where I am in my life today (I shouldn’t be thinking this early in the day). As I think about where I am, it’s amazing to think back to the different times in my life and how far my family has come. Looking back at my daily memories on Facebook just helps me remember all the things that were going on around my birthday from the past several years.
Ten years ago I had a vision for my future. By the time I was in my mid-20s I was going to be married, maybe have a few kids, and I’d have a great career that I’d spent four years in school preparing for. At that time I had a few different career ideas. I was either going to teach school or become a counselor. No matter what though, I was going to have a career — college was a must. When I turned 16 I had no clue who I was going to spend the rest of my life with, but by springtime I had a pretty good idea about who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Where I am now and where I thought I would be have turned out to be two different things. At 16 I never would have imagined that my career choice would end up being journalism and writing. It never ever crossed my mind that I would eventually decide to give all of that up to stay home and homeschool my children (it was an easy decision). I am happy to see though that the person I had in mind to marry at 16 1/2 is the same person I’m happily married to today. After 7 1/2 years of marriage, we’ve experienced our ups and downs and frustrations with each other, but we love each other and we’d do anything for each other.
The past several years have been full of unexpected twists and turns that at 16 I would have never dreamed would happen. At 16 you try and focus on and dream about the wonderful things that you expect to happen in your life. The problem is though, life is full of things you never dreamed of.
In 2011, I spent the first several hours of my birthday in the ER with excruciating pain from a miscarriage. I received a shot of Demerol which meant I spent most of my birthday sleeping off the meds. In the history of birthdays, that was probably the worst birthday ever. I remember that birthday vividly and it’ll probably be a long time before I have a birthday without thinking about that.
Just one year later, I spent my birthday dreaming about buying a house. I was working at Cracker Barrel because after my college graduation just a few months prior there were no open newspaper positions. I was excited to be at Cracker Barrel, but even more excited at the prospect of buying a house. Jimmi and I had been married 4 1/2 years and we were ready to get out of an apartment and into a house. We’d already found the house we wanted, but it’d be several more weeks before we got to move into our dream home.
By my birthday 2013 our lives were looking very different. We about to be celebrating the one year anniversary of being in our house. I had left Cracker Barrel for my dream job at our local newspaper and I was 11 weeks pregnant. My birthday just happened to be the day of the ultrasound and it turned out to be one of the best birthdays ever because it was the first time that we got to see our healthy baby. My dream job at the time wasn’t so dreamy because hormones were making my first few months at the job very stressful and I was struggling to keep up with the job I’d spent 4 years preparing for.
Last year on my birthday I was enjoying my time staying at home with baby Samuel and homeschooling Josiah. At the same time I was fretting over whether Jimmi would get to start school in August. Due to several layoffs in the first half of 2014 we were trying to save our house from foreclosure and that hung over us like a dark cloud no matter what good was going on.
This year though I have nothing negative to say about my birthday. Things are good. I’m at home with my two fantastic kids and Jimmi is working at two awesome paying jobs that allows me to stay home and keep the bills paid. Josiah is about to start the 2nd grade and he just turned 6 (my kid thinks he’s a genius) and Samuel is dragging everything out in the pantry as I type this. The bills are paid, we have two vehicles, and our house is safe.
It’s not what I anticipated my life to be at this point, but it’s exactly what my life should be. Now that my driver’s license is expired and I’ve officially left 25 behind I look forward to seeing what’s going to happen in my life over the next year.