I recently went back to my college sorority house for the annual Senior Dinner. No, I am not one of those weird old ladies just hanging around the sorority house trying to relive my “glory days”. I was invited as a guest after I recently agreed to be an advisor to the chapter. I am sure this decision will provide me with loads of headaches and needless drama…but all of that makes for some of the best and funniest stories so I will give it a try for a year and see what happens.
So after the dinner is over and everyone is enjoying their cake and coffee, each of the girls stands up to say what their plans are for after graduation and a favorite sorority memory or what being in the sorority means to them. And I admit that I got a little choked up listening to these girls talk about meeting their best friends there and that they would all be in each others weddings someday and moving into apartments together after graduation and all of their rosy sounding hopes and dreams for the future.
I got choked up because I remember when it was me sitting there – all my plans and dreams for what life was going to be like after leaving college. And here I am, MANY years later, and not a lot of what I thought or even planned has come to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Not all of us want the same things at 32 that we thought we wanted at 22. I just thought my life would be a lot, well different. It’s nothing about having a more glamorous job, or being married vs. being single, or any sort of crazy timetable I had set up for myself about what age I wanted my first child by and my second child by and all of that. I was never one of those girls. I have always been pretty independent and never really worried or even thought about there being guys or babies in the picture to worry about.
But my 32 year old self was sitting there listening to all these 22 year olds full of hope and smiles and wide eyes. And I just felt kind of sad. I had kind of forgotten about a lot of the goals and hopes that my 22 year old self had because I am well past the point where I had to make some tough admissions that some of them were just not going to happen. I envied their ability to look at everything that would be possible for them because it was all there in front of them. A blank slate so to speak that they were going to go out and put their mark on. I found myself being a little envious, and wishing I had my own blank slate right now or had that same sense of excitement and anticipation about what was going to happen next.
I was lucky that I got to have a time in my life where I lived in a castle, with a bunch of great girls all around me where there was always someone to talk, commiserate with or go out with. Had dinner served every night at 5:15 and my biggest stress was probably finding a date or a dress for formal. The view from there was pretty damn good – anything and everything seemed possible. Now I worry about bills to be paid and finding enough hours in the day to get all my work done. Sometimes dinner doesn’t happen until 9 at night and it’s a bowl of cereal because I am too tired to cook a real dinner. I miss my friends and having people around me to talk to and spend time with because now we are all separated – by miles or jobs or families or children. I wish I knew then how good I had it. Because some days, I would give anything to be back there.
So I need to do something to find my inner 22 year old. I don’t know what that is exactly. I’m hoping it doesn’t involve Jagermeister or bad decision making. But seriously there should be a way to still have some semblance of that “anything is possible” attitude. That excitement and anxiousness about turning the page to find out what happens next. I need to find it soon so my older self doesn’t look back at me now and feel any shred of disappointment.