When I was in fourth grade, I thought I would be a journalist.
This had nothing to do with a skill for writing or an interest in news or a dedication to "getting the truth out there", and everything to do with what was the coolest green vest in the world.
My mom had this lime green vest with three big black buttons, and it was probably the singular most fantastic clothing item my fourth-grade self had ever perceived. (And sense no one has seen this vest in years and it cannot be disproved...yeah, we'll call it THE BEST THING EVER.) In fourth grade, I had this stellar mental image of myself at twenty-four, sitting on top of a table with my feet on a chair (because I was COOL) - my hair was pulled back, I had on a white t-shirt and a dark blue wash set of what has come to be termed "mom-jeans"; and I was leaned forward, arms resting on my knees talking with my other journalist friends about journalism. Or the news. Or something. We were planning and talking and laughing, and I thought "THAT is what I could do. I'll be there at twenty-four."
I am not where my fourth-grade self thought I would be. We've long since lost that green vest, I didn't have enough hair for a pony-tail until my early twenties and it got weirdly curly sometime between fourth grade and now, and thank God, I know better than to wear high-waisted mom-jeans.
I am not where my fourth grade self thought I would be at twenty-four. I didn't have any huge plans or ideas; just a vague concept of what I assumed was that mythical land of "adulthood". I figured I would have life figured.
But, as it turns out...mountains are harder to climb than slides, and an awesome vest does not a journalist make.
Life is wicked complicated, and even though few of us are doing what our fourth-grade selves thought we would be doing, life is good. Maybe not worse, and maybe not better than our idealization of adulthood...just different. Just because we don't have it all (or even most) of it figured out, doesn't mean that we're not headed somewhere terrific.
I don't know where your life is headed. I don't know where my life is headed. I do know that expectations do not always meet reality, and I do know that that is not always a bad thing.
I wouldn't make a very good journalist, and I'd make an even worse mountain climber. Thankfully, we're not committed to fourth grade dreams and ideals. We get to grow, and we get to change, and we get to figure this life out one day at a time.
All that being said...I'm shopping for a green vest now. Because let's face it...fourth grade me had STYLE.