What I Wish I Knew as a Teen

When I was a teenager, I had my entire life mapped out. I planned to marry a rich, brown-eyed man with muscles like the men on gothic romance covers. We’d have exactly one boy and one girl (never 3 because it creates a 2 against 1 dynamic that irked me growing up). They’d both be smart and sweet with my blonde hair and blue eyes. My son would play baseball and my daughter would be a ballerina. I’d work as an elementary school teacher and we’d all live in a beautiful house with a 2-car garage and picket fence.

And I was POSITIVE it was going to happen. I mean, why wouldn’t it? Life is what you make of it, right?

But I learned real quick that life never happens the way you think it will. It certainly didn’t for me.

  • I started off my adulthood living in a mobile home park (no garages or fences here!)
  • I married a farm boy with hazel eyes who most definitely wasn’t rich
  • I gave birth to a boy, then a boy, then another boy (3 kids and not a tutu in sight).
  • My oldest son has ADHD and learning disabilities
  • I work in an office

Then my prejudgments came back to haunt me.

I didn’t want to be one of those women who have a cheating husband.

I had a cheating husband.

I didn’t want to be one of those women who gets a divorce and upsets their kids’ lives.

I got a divorce and upset my kids’ lives.

I didn’t want to be one of those women who have a live-in boyfriend with kids in the house.

My boyfriend lived with me for three years before we married.

I didn’t want to be one of those women who have a different last name from their kids.

I got married in September and took my husband’s last name.

I didn’t want to be one of those women who have children with their new husband, making their other children feel like outcasts in their own home.

This has yet to happen. But looking at my track record…

If you break down my life in this manner, it would appear that God took all my wants – EXPECTATIONS — and brought them down on their ear. Not one of my plans came to light. It’s as if he puffed up his chest and said, “Julie, Julie, Julie, you think you know what you want. But I know what you NEED. Judge not others’ lives before you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Life will happen as I see fit. I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU.”

And you know what? He’s right. Life didn’t go the way I planned. But in the process, I grew stronger, gained confidence, started writing, and met a man who dotes on me and spoils us rotten. I may not have girlie tutus in the house, but my boys are cuddlers, who make me feel loved. And instead of sharing my kingdom with a princess, I am the sole queen of all. It’s a wonderful feeling.

So my happily ever after eventually did happen, just not the way I expected. As an adult, I can now appreciate the important lessons I learned on this wild adventure called life. If I could go back in time to my teenage self, I’d tell her one simple thing.

Let go of the reigns and enjoy the ride.

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