It’s been almost 10 years since I thought I had it all figured out. I had been accepted to my college of choice. I had a boyfriend that I thought was the one. I had plans of graduating with a degree in journalism and advertising, moving to New York City and figured in 10 years, I would be the lifestyle editor for Instyle on the fast track to editor in chief. I would be married to that boyfriend and he would probably be the head trainer for the Knicks or the Jets or something. We’d have 2 kids, a boy and then a girl and with chic style and endless amounts of energy, I would manage it all with a smile on my face. I would come back to my high school reunion without hesitation, because big time New York editors totally have time to fly across the country to see people they were too shy to talk to in High School. Yep, I had a pretty awesome plan.
Then I graduated from college and those big dreams got a little smaller. A new boy was in my life, and he was “the one” for sure. We’d been together for almost four years and a proposal was right around the corner. He planned to continue on and get into the Physical Therapy School. In just a few short years he’s be making tons of money and we could travel the world together, because you know we’d have tons of time off. I wasn’t so sure about having kids anymore, although I didn’t admit it to anyone. We’d just have a couple of dogs to keep us company. After a couple of hiccups and degree changes, I graduated with a dual degree in public relations and advertising. By the time my high school reunion rolled around 6 years later, I was sure I would own my own company and be a self-made success, who spent most of her time traveling with her hubby. I mean, when you own your own company, you don’t really have to work right?
Three years later, I was in a tailspin from a serious quarter-life crisis. I had married “the one” and he decided I wasn’t “the one” and we were getting divorced. Meanwhile, I realized I hated PR and took a job in sales that made me die a little more inside each day. All of a sudden, I was dying to become a baby-making machine that could rival the Duggars- because you know, getting divorced meant I would never be in love again and and probably die alone. I was living alone in an apartment I couldn’t afford with a surly cat. Not exactly what I expect my life to look like at 24. I racked up credit bills like nobodies business trying to buy security, comfort and hope. I wasn’t showing my face at any reunion. Hi, I’m Ashley. Divorced, in debt and usually drunk. No thanks!
I had almost succumbed to the idea that this was as good as it was going to get, when I decided to give dreaming another shot. I no longer had a plan. I just knew that this wasn’t it.
Fast forward another three years.
Here I sit on my laptop. I have almost 3 years of non-profit/event management/online fundraising experience- a career that has given me numerous opportunities I never would have imaged when I was 17. I work on a regional level and have fun at my job every day. I write a lifestyle blog, which if you ask me is kind of like a magazine because people subscribe to it and actually choose to read what I have to say. I have a passion for online communication and social media; mediums that were almost nonexistent 10 years ago. I am single and not currently dating like my life depends on it, because finally, being single doesn’t sound so bad. I live in California (a place I swore I would never live) in a two-bedroom apartment with a girl I met on craigslist and I love it. But most importantly, I’m not worried about the future. 10 years later I am absolutely content with the unknown and I can’t wait to find out what life has in store for me.
It might be time for my 10 year reunion, but I’m not going to be looking back on what I have or haven’t accomplished up until this point. Instead I plan to just enjoy this moment because 10 years went hella fast.