Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Challenge From My Teacher

Do you remember the scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie's teacher tells them she wants them to write a theme titled "What I Want For Christmas"? Ralphie was simply ecstatic!! His one chance to tell the world about the official Red Ryder carbine action, two hundred shot range air rifle!! During my senior year in high school, I had a similar experience. One of our teachers told us to write down where we thought we might be in ten and twenty years. In 1981 that seemed like a VERY simple task. I knew EXACTLY where I planned to be in ten, twenty, thirty, forty years, and the rest of my life!! The teacher said he would mail us these papers in ten years to see how close we came. He never did that, but that's beside the point.

I wrote that in 10 years I saw myself married to a wonderful man. Extremely happy, and living a fairy tale life. In 20 years I would be be married to the same wonderful man and would have a lovely kid or two. Yes, it was very simple for 17 year old Mary to know where she planned to be tomorrow, and for the rest of her perfect life.

Ten years later, in 1991, I found myself single...freshly divorced from a man who cheated on me and made my life a living hell for 4 years. This is not what I had planned. I was on my own for the first time in my life. 1991 turned out to be one of the best years of my life, but only because I was free. Free, and dating whoever I pleased. I had my own house, a nice car, and money to do the things I wanted. Sometimes I was dating two or three men at a time. It truly was a fantastic year--one that I will never forget. In fact, as I've mentioned in this blog before, I still have my calendar from that year. I couldn't bear to throw it away!! But it certainly was not the way I thought my life would be just ten years before that.

At the twenty year mark, in 2001, I found myself married to a new man--my current husband. At the time of our 20 year class reunion, September 11 had just occurred and it was a very somber time. I did have two children; one born in 1997 and one in 1999. I was very happy at that time in my life--very content. Other than being married to the "SAME wonderful man", I think I hit this nail on the head.

Last year marked thirty years past 1981, and even though my teacher didn't ask about this milestone, I must say that once again, I was not where I envisioned myself to be. Not necessarily a bad thing, but had you asked Young Mary where she saw herself in 2011, I'm sure you would have gotten a different answer than the reality of today.

I'm challenging myself right now to think about 2021; forty years since I first predicted my future. I will be 58 years old. My children will turn 24 and 22 that year. They won't need me for much anymore. Hopefully they will have both graduated college, and I will not yet have any grandchildren. I'll probably still be at my same job. Married? Alone? I don't know. Smart money would likely be on "married". I see myself at peace. I see myself with my depression and anxiety under control. I pray that my Dad will still be around at 92. I hope I'm healthy, and active, and still feeling frisky. Hopefully I will be around to see if my prediction is accurate.

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