This meme, stolen from Tense Teacher (who else? I nick all my memes from her) reminds me of those diamond ads – one for your past, one for your present, and one for your future. Anyway, here are my answers:
* Getting to Know You – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow *
Where were you in 1987? In school? Working? Single? Attached? What was important to you? What were you doing creatively? Tell us a little bit about your life then:
In 1987, I was graduating from high school (our 20th reunion is scheduled for July). I was probably at my worst; I had divorced my parents the year before and, after a short stay with my adopted mother, was in my first apartment struggling to keep myself housed and fed. If memory serves me, I was in a transition from being attached (to the boyfriend I’d had through all four years of high school) to being single (he’d found someone else). That transition, being the first, was excruciating for me, though I wasn’t single for long – I met my next guy at a restaurant where we both worked that summer.
I did a lot of growing up in that year – and the five or so immediately following – and, while I look back on that time in my life with a visible cringe, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Those experiences really informed the person I am today, and she’s pretty okay.
Where were you in 1997? What would you like to share about the 90s?
The 90s were great to me. I met my husband in ’91 and married him in ’96. We built a house in ’92. I met Bowyer, one of my best and dearest friends, in ’95. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in English in May of ’96, married Mr. Chili in June, and tested positive for Punkin’ Pie in September and have never really looked back.
The comparison between me in ’87 and me in ’97 is staggering. I got my life together. I figured out who I wanted to be and what I needed to do to get her. While I had a couple of really hard lessons in those ten years, they helped me figure out what my priorities are. I learned that a lot of the beliefs I held about myself were wrong – that I am smart and strong and good enough to deserve the love and friendship of good people. I couldn’t have made it to here without those lessons – and the people who were willing to teach me – and I look back on those years with a huge helping of gratitude.
Where did you plan to be or think you would be in 2007? Have you realized your goals? What is one thing about your present life you love and one thing you would like to change?
I really DO think that I am where I hoped I’d be in 2007, and I have a lot more than one thing in my life that I love. I have a strong, healthy, loving marriage. I have the two daughters I desperately wanted. I have friends I can count on, and who can count on me. I have a relationship with my adopted family that brings me enormous comfort and incredible joy. We have a beautiful home and have settled into a good life that feels stable and secure.
I was able to finish my Master’s degree and I’m using my skills in ways that – more often than not – challenge and delight me, so I’m also where I hoped I’d be professionally, as well. Though I really thought, when I graduated from college (both times) that I’d be working in a high school, I think that I’m better suited to the job at the college. While I am keeping my eyes open for other opportunities (because, though it’s “more often than not” that I love my job, there ARE those times when I think I need to be doing more), I really do feel like this situation is the best place for the me who is right now. It doesn’t interfere with my family obligations – I get to keep my top job as Mom without any outside complications – and I get to feel as though I’m contributing to the financial health of my family (even though, let’s be serious here, I’m a teacher, for cryin’ out loud. Does the term “drop in the bucket” mean anything to you?). If I were to change anything, I’d probably want to expand my professional horizons a bit, but even that doesn’t feel like it’s all that urgent. I am remarkably content.
How do you see your life in 2017? Do you have any goals or dreams for your future?
I tend not to set too many specific “goals or dreams for the future.” I truly do believe that NOW is really what counts. I grew up with a father who was always about the next thing; things would be better once he finished this job/ got that promotion/the kids are out of the house/got this loan paid off…. continue to fill in endless, meaningless milestones here. Things never DID get better because he was never happy where he WAS.
I am happy where I am, and while I don’t expect to stagnate – I’m aware that when you stop growing and changing, you die – I’m not eager to get to the next big thing. I didn’t wish my babies baby-hoods away (“ugh! I can’t WAIT until they’re out of diapers/walking/talking/in preschool/getting jobs/..”), and I’m not wishing this time away, either.
That being said, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable for me to look to possible further study; I haven’t entirely given up on the idea of another Master’s, or maybe even a Ph.D. Neither would I completely discount the possibility of the Chili family doing a year or so abroad – England, specifically (Mr. Chili always has half an eye out for work-exchange possibilities). I want to continue to be healthy, and to maintain good relationships with my girls as they transition from little girls to grown women (in ’17, Beanie will be 18 and Punkin’ will be TWENTY! YIKES!). I am also very much looking forward to ten more years with my beloved; 2017 will be 21 years of marriage for Mr. Chili and me…