Here’s to the Next 20 years

Last week, I turned 20. I know in the grand scheme of things 20 years isn’t exactly a huge deal, but it got me thinking a lot about all of the milestones of my life.

Five-year-old Carly loved to draw and listen to music. If you would have asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she probably would have said artist or singer or actress or something else in the entertainment industry. She loved her pretty pink skirts and lacy socks almost as much as her mother loved dressing her up in pretty pink skirts and lacy socks.

At 10-years-old, Carly had just written her first short story. It was called “Going to Paris,” and while it was small and rife with grammatical errors, Carly was so incredibly proud of it. It was at this time in her life that she knew she loved writing. It filled her with a sense of purpose that was new to her. But she knew that she liked it.

10
Me and the BFF at age 10. Please ignore my snaggletooth.

By the time she was 13 and in the throws of adolescence, Carly had her first thoughts about being a journalist. Traveling around the world and writing seemed like a pretty good deal to her, and a heck of a lot easier than writing the next Great American Novel. During this year, Carly found herself an absolutely fantastic group of girlfriends that would go with her to middle school dances, the movie theater, and a water park for her 13th birthday, making unbelievable memories along the way .

put in bay
We thought we were really cool with our Charlie’s Angels pose, even though none of us had seen Charlie’s Angels. This also became a standard pose for every single group picture we took at dances.

At 16, Carly was very involved in high school. Furthering her journalistic ambitions, Carly was on the high school newspaper. She was also involved in her high school’s color guard, and in a few short months she would be named captain. This was also the time that Carly got her license, and with it, her first car, which she named Roxie. This allowed Carly more freedom to go places and to get her very first big-girl job at a frozen yogurt restaurant.

frogen
Fresh, Fabulous, Frogen! (which was neither fresh nor fabulous)

Soon enough, Carly turned 18 and was finally an adult. She had been accepted into her dream school, was editor-on-chief of her high school newspaper, and again was surrounded by friends who made her feel special. It was around this time, however, that Carly’s career goals changed. Slowly, she realized that she wanted to become a teacher and write books on the side.

graduation
*cue to graduation music*

Now, at 20, I look back at the goals and dreams I have had in the past. Some of those goals, like to win “American Idol” and become a famous singer, sadly went on the back burner when I learned what “tone deaf” meant. Others, like becoming an author, still linger in the back of my mind, latent until I have a burst of creativity that I can’t contain.

But I have done so many things that 5-year-old me never could have dreamed of accomplishing by the time I was 20. I have graduated high school. I have been published in Seventeen Magazine. I have worked for Disney World. I have made so many incredible friends during every single point in my life that I sometimes sit back and think, “How in the world could I have been so blessed?”

It’s not to say that I haven’t had hardships. Graduating high school was necessitated by the need to get a scholarship so I could afford college. My Seventeen Magazine article came to be because of my body issues. Working at Disney World came to fruition because, at the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I needed time to figure it out.

You take the good with the bad, the ups with the downs. The bad moments make you appreciate the good moments, and the good moments make you appreciate the truly great ones.

What highlights in my mind as I reflect, however, are the incredible relationships I have made with my parents, my little brother, my friends (Wadsworth, John Carroll, and Disney included), my neighbors, my teachers, and my coaches.

I am so excited to see what the next 20 years might bring. Be it happy, sad, angry, or loving, I cannot wait to see.

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Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. {George Bernard Shaw}

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