It started one day last week. Can't remember which - all the days look the same once you're into new ones. All I can say with certainty is I awoke with a start and exclaimed, aloud, "What in the world am I doing here?" Just like that. And once said, it was as if my words continued to bounce around the room - like tiny, rubber balls - and spring back into my ears again.
Is there really such thing as a quarter-life crisis? I need to look it up because I think, perhaps, I'm in one.
I used to be a dreamer. A go-and-do-er. Not sure what's happened, exactly. Somewhere along the way I think I dropped some dreams, as an ailing car litters parts along a highway. As a child, I never doubted what I would be when I grew up: a reporter. I started, unofficially, with a hairbrush for a microphone in our living room in Oklahoma. I started, officially, in 1997 -ten years ago - at a small ABC radio affiliate in Texas. The newspaper came one day to take my picture and I remember stopping, turning in my chair, and smirking. (Jim? Do you remember taking this photo?) You can see it in my face. The thing that grabs me about this photo is that my hand is still holding a pen and resting on my mouse. I wouldn't stop multi-tasking, even for the picture. I thought I was busy and had things to do. Places to go.
And, as it turned out, I did. I moved along to bigger markets and tougher assignments. I ate dinner with Walter Cronkite and interviewed the president. Judges. Law enforcement. Martha Stewart. Once I even threw up shrimp on Phil Graham and got in trouble for being rude (unknowingly) to Roger Staubach. I hated the hours and the commitment but loved the thinking and the writing. So it captured me and I went, willingly, further and further down its path until one day it - stopped. I left it altogether. I came here.
Some friends and I sat down, just before college ended, and wrote down where we wanted to be - and where we thought the others would be - in five years... ten years... twenty-five years. My friend Lisa, of course, decided she would be eyeball deep into covert operations with the CIA, and was promptly dubbed Special Agent Lisa. SALL, for short, because her initials are "LL". She's now a school teacher who sews and wears her own aprons to her classroom every day. I think she also has 7 Master's degrees.
Another friend... the one who believed she'd be a foreign missionary in a hut in Belize... lives not too far from the school we graduated from. She's built a wonderful life there and delivers makeup to the masses. She sells Mary Kay. Quite successful, too. Drives the car and everything.
Another suspected she might settle on a ranch in Wyoming or Montana and spend her days with horses and rugged terrain. She fell in love and wrangles twin boys now. They say she's a wonderful mother.
I suppose we all, along the way, see our fair share of dream dropping, don't we? Can't see why I'm having such a hard time with mine - such a hard time finding and running with my new dream. I am, after all, the same stupidly fearless girl I always was.
Who knows. Maybe sometimes we need time to reflect. Wrestle. Decide. Maybe I'm in the calm before the dream storm and I just don't know it....
As you look back at your life,
there are just a million different things
that have happened, just in the right way,
to allow you to make your dreams come true.
And you know, Someone has all that under control.
-Michael P. Anderson