Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dude, Where's My Dream?

Back in the day I was pretty driven.  I had an awesome GPA, a full scholarship to a university close to my hometown, and my plan was to graduate, move to the big city and find my dream job.  I was going to be totally independent.  I was going to conquer the world (or at least my life).  And what's more, I was on my way to actually doing it.  I was kicking college's @**.

Fast forward to the present... Yeah, so much for that.

After two years of slaving away on term papers and short stories, I packed a suitcase, flew to Germany, and married a soldier.  And I've basically been on a two year vacation since then.  It's been amazing, don't get me wrong.  I cherish that I was able to follow my heart and live out this incredible love story.  It's just that sometimes it feels like I lost part of myself while flying over the Atlantic.  I mean really, what happened to my plan?  Were those fifteen years of dedication and hard work in school for nothing?  Because honestly, there are a lot of days when I feel like an utter failure for tossing that part of my life aside.

But the really funny thing is, when I think about the future I planned for myself, the one with the fabulous career and chic city apartment, it just seems kind of lonely.  So why do I feel like I missed out?

The thing I wanted most when I was younger was distance from my old life.  I wanted to move away to a place where I could start over, where the only image anyone would have of me is the one I created.  Nobody would have memories of my horrible middle school fashion choices or embarrassing high school crushes.  I wanted to leave everything behind and be a shiny new version of me -- educated, capable, polished, and successful.  And in some ways, I did that.  Just not in the way I thought I would.

Fate is an ironic creature.

I'm half a world away from everyone and everything I knew, and the joke is on me, because leaving your past behind is harder than it looks in the movies.  I miss my old friends.  They knew me in a way that can only come from growing up together.  They were around for the embarrassing moments, and accept me anyway.  I miss my family.  I never realized how much I depended on that massive web of support until it was gone.  I miss the confidence that knowing my hometown like the back of my hand gave me.  I miss school and my old desk job and all the other things I was so good at.  And yet, I know couldn't have made any other choice.

Coming here, choosing to fight for love, is my greatest accomplishment.  I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, and so proud of myself for having the courage to leap into this marriage with both feet.  Not many people can honestly say they've given their all for a relationship, and I am so glad that I won't grow old wondering about "what could have been."

The problem is that I'm not sure where to go from here.  My plan has been tossed out the window, and for a while I had the "big gesture" of moving to Germany to occupy me, but now we're coming back to the states.  The past two years have been about making my marriage work, about making sacrifices for a common future with someone I love.  But now that time is coming to an end.  We're going to be in a place where I have opportunities and choices again.  I can go back to school, or start my own business, or find a job I like.  Kyle and I could start a family.  There are so many options and I have no idea what to do, because the old dreams I gave up...those just aren't me anymore.

What happened to me?  Where'd my drive go?  Why didn't I think this far ahead?

Part of me is ecstatic.  Part of me can't wait to pick up the pieces of my old life and mash them into something new.  To be closer to my friends and family and home.  To get back in my old, productive groove.  But another part is straight up terrified that I'll never live up to the expectations I had for myself.  Cause, I mean, they're pretty darn lofty expectations.


  1. You should watch the movie *The Way*
    Every one of us is on a journey, this journey we call life.
    I too, like you Carrie, look back ( I'm way older than you) and wish I had done some things differently.
    However we can all still dare to dream and love!
    So, today, this is my scallop shell to you.
    ( If you wikipedia El Camino, you will find the story of the shell there.)
    Take heart, my little friend.
    Life is a wonderful enthralling journey.
    Soak up every second.
    My love to you.
    ( The travelling notebook never came back :( xxxxx

    1. Thank you so much for this, Anna. :)

      I'm so sorry to hear about the notebook. I'm just going to imagine it's still out there traveling around...

  2. Goals and dreams and expectations change as we get older and life happens to us. It sounds like that's where you are now.... life happened and you ran with it and it started you down a new path. You're still the same you only now you're better and so you can sit down and think about what will make you happy NOW. Not back then but right now. And then move forward from there.... you have the world by the tail right now.... take a leap and run with it again!!

    1. Awe. This might be my favorite comment ever. Thanks, Holli!


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