School is back in session and autumn, my favorite season is upon us. Were someone to ask me what I love so much about this time of year I would, without hesitation, say something along the lines of…. It’s the trees as they turn color, the crisp coolness of the evenings combined with the warmth of the days, it is in the way the rain doesn’t evaporate off the roads right away but instead leaves a thick coat of water upon them making everything glimmer…. and there is this smell in the air. It’s like a combination of ripe pumpkins and the smell of fallen leaves right before they begin to decay.
Maybe I jumped in a few too many leaf piles back in the day as a kid, I don’t know.
With the beginning of a new school year, I find myself looking back upon my life in terms of school. Oh how I wish I were the person I am today when I was in college! I think of all the missed opportunities, the boys I would have flirted with, the people I would have spoken up to, and the fun I would have had. College was, by far, the best years of my life and it stuns me how different I was back then. I have truly come so far in terms of confidence, compassion, and the ability to be happy. I don’t think the girl I was then had any idea I could be who I am today… and that makes me very happy.
And then I look back even further, to high school, and… I’m not so happy. I had all these dreams of what my life would be like. I used to lie and tell people I didn’t really ever think about getting married – that isn’t true. What’s true is I never thought about or planned my wedding day. I always assumed I would be married. I always assumed I would have a husband I loved and who would take care of me. I assumed I would have children. I assumed I would have this neat little house which was interesting to look at. I assumed I would have this great career.
I think I did fine on the career. Teaching is a true challenge and I genuinely love it. Everything else? How did I have no clue how complicated love could be? For all the ins and outs of my life, I just assumed someone would fall madly in love with me and I would just naturally love them back and then we’d have a happily ever after. Has anyone ever had anything that uncomplicated when it comes to love? And my little house that is just neat to look at? Replace that with a small cookie cutter house in a subdivision in a little nothing town which doesn’t even really have a community. Oh, and throw in there that I can’t really afford it after the divorce.
For all of my accomplishments, I’ve had so many failures as well. My only consolation is looking at the person I was in college and realizing how much I’ve grown, reminding myself there is not a true timeline for life’s accomplishments, and continuing forward. The girl I was in high school had dreams which weren’t connected with her reality. The girl in college ignored her future completely. The girl I am today always works toward a goal and tries to keep her eyes wide open and a smile on her face. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be more than I can imagine today. I guess one can only hope.