Ten Years: A Reflection

I debated between making this a birthday post or a blog anniversary one. I chose birthday since it’s not about the blog.

Today is my 28th birthday. A decade since what was supposed to be my HS graduation year (was forced to take an extra year due to transferring districts). It feels rather surreal. I don’t know how to feel about it.

I know 18-year-old me would be surprised I’m still here, and at the things I do. I dealt with bullying throughout all of my school years. Always had a few friends, but was overall extremely shy, didn’t do extracurriculars, and struggled with schoolwork. Didn’t date at all (because any guy who asked me out did it only as a joke), and I was heavily sheltered, so outside of the occasional afternoon with a friend, my time out of school was spent at home. Wanted to work, but they didn’t want me to do even that. Yet, complained I never went out. Huh.

If you told me at the age of 18 that in ten years, I’d:

  • Almost never spend a full day at home
  • Have a relationship of now 7 years with someone who cannot take his eyes off of my undressed body
  • DRIVE (I failed the class my high school provided us and never tried again)
  • Regularly travel between NJ and NY, and travel all over NJ (I used to do Uber/Lyft)
  • Meet men who deem me attractive, and who flirt with me (I hate this, but it still shocks me)
  • Be in college again, do well, and not hate it (dropped out of college when I was 19)
  • Have money, have credit, get into investing (Budget? In my family? What is that?)
  • Wouldn’t be pregnant (never wanted kids, but family always talked about pregnancy as something inevitable; everyone is a single parent or in a toxic marriage, no in between)

And, finally, the biggest one of all:

  • Be capable of holding down a full-time job and financially supporting myself, even if I struggle for a while. (Everyone from my family to my teachers told me I wouldn’t make it in adulthood if my grades didn’t get better, and my high school pushed college as a life or death thing)

If you told me at 18 this is what I could reflect on in ten years, I’d call you a liar and glare at you like you sprouted a second head. If 2020 hadn’t been the year it was, my boyfriend and I would’ve moved in together, but it’s now in the cards for 2023.

I say often I don’t feel my life differs much from when I was a teenager, but what I listed above is very different. None of that describes me at 18 at all.

But I still want someone to hug me, rub my back, and tell me I’m okay. I still need that.

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