As a senior in high school, our bible study leaders asked us to think about where we wanted to be in 10 years. At that time, I was pretty focused on finishing up scholarship applications, planning my senior trip with my best friends, wrapping up my senior project, and not failing Coach Jones’s AP Biology test that week. Where I wanted to be in 10 years was not a priority, but I made a list anyway. I still have the list (I also still have all of Coach Jones’s notes). Today I looked back on it, as I hit the 10 year mark, and it was bittersweet. Today I am Anna at 28. Anna at 18 was ambitious, very traditional, incredibly naive, a little weird, and young. Bless her heart.
Written in a Veggie Tales notebook (see above referenced “weird”), dated 2005:
In 2015, I will be:
Graduate of Southern Miss
A deaf educator or stay at home mom
Mother to two children
A few other life experience goals thrown in, but these were the headliners. To me, this was the (Southern) American Dream. This was the yellow brick road I just knew would take me to the Oz of family life and fulfillment. This was how life was suppose to go! Graduate by 22 and immediately Husband-up. Have 2-3 years of “no kids” time, and then babies. Fool proof.
I find comfort in the fact that most of us at 18 are idiots. Bless our hearts.
I’m married. Nailed that one. Thanks, Mister.
I did not graduate from Southern Miss. Student loans are no joke, the economy tanked, dumb decisions were made, and it turns out you don’t necessarily need calligraphy on a piece of paper to hold down a decent job.
I am not a deaf educator. I found I had a low tolerance for politics in the class room, and a particularly low tolerance for how polarizing deaf education methods can be. If I were a teacher, you’d probably see me on the news telling a state politician exactly where he could stick his “education policy”.
I am not a home owner. Rushing into six-figure debt never does any one any good, and property maintenance can be tricky.
I was fine with all these things. I’ve actually laughed about a few of them for the last few years.
The “mother” bit is stinging today. More than I thought it would. Anna at 18 had endometriosis, and was at the beginning of the great adventure of Birth Control Roulette (a terrible ride, I don’t recommend it). Anna at 18 had no idea what was coming, or how that disease was wrecking my body. I fully believed I would have two completely “cooked” kiddos by now, and likely be planning the next ones. I had no idea that Anna at 28 would have two (endo related) surgeries notched in her belt or be well versed in self administered hormone injections.
I’ve started comparing Anna at 18 and Anna at 28, and have come to a realization:
We are not the same people.
I am not the same woman I was 10 years ago. Praise be to God.
I’ve learned really hard lessons over the last 10 years, and dealt with some hurt that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Had my life just plopped into place like the story book I’d planned, I would not know my God the way I do today. My God is glorified in my weakness, and wowzers has he had some glory moments in the last 10 years. I would not have planned my life as it is today, in any aspect, but praise God I am where I am. My plans and lists have been completely scrapped and rewritten. I just can’t see everything yet.
On my birthdays, I look back and am thankful for the multitude of witnesses that have helped shaped who I am today. In the same spirit, I look forward and see where I want to go from here.
During my year as a 28 year old, I will likely face the most change and transition in life since I moved out of my mama’s house and down to the Pine Belt 10 years ago. In April, I am having surgery in Atlanta at the Center for Endometriosis Care. I have been accepted by a wonderful surgeon and his team, and my prognosis for functional improvement and successful fertility is good. They’ve got a laundry list of xxx-scopys and xxx-ectomys that mostly translate to me being pressure washed and roto-routed and gutted and replumbed. In June, we will begin our IVF journey. In between now and surgery and IVF, we are purchasing a car and becoming home-loaners.
Big things are happening. It’s terrifying. It’s overwhelming. It’s a lot of hormone fluxes, which translates into a lot of feelings. God bless the men that live with me, because emotions. Praise God the success of the next 6 months does not hinge on me.
Praise God that my list was a terrible flop.
Praise God I am broken and a failure – my success and joy lies completely in Him.
Praise God I am not Anna at 18.
Praise God for who Anna at 28 is.
And praise God for the woman that Anna at 38 will be, whoever she is.