A couple of days ago the hubs and I were talking about a conversation that I had with my twin sister during which she said “You are nothing like what I thought you’d be when we were growing up.” We both laughed and I admitted that I’m also surprised at how I turned out. And, apparently, so are a lot of other people. People who knew me in high school always have the same reaction when they find me on Facebook ~ “You mean you’re not in the middle of a jungle somewhere?” or “Wait! You’re a mom? What the heck happened to you?”
In high school I was that odd combination of brightly attired bookworm with a wallflower complex who wore the perfume of quiet desperation and teen angst like it was Chanel No. 5. In fact, I was so uncool that I was known by two names “Shontel’s Sister” and “The Other Twin”. But the one thing that everyone knew about The Other Twin was that I would somehow end up in the middle of nowhere saving people who didn’t know they needed saving.
All throughout high school, I had these plans of travelling the world and reporting on stories that mattered. I wanted to go to Madagascar and live among the natives. I dreamed of talking to the leaders of La Revolución (it didn’t matter what revolution, just as long as I was there). I imagined myself bonding with other journalists as we hunkered down with troops stationed in various war zones. This globe trotting life of which I dreamed was courtesy of Danielle Steel and her book, Message from Nam, about a young female reporter who sacrificed all to tell the story of the Vietnam War. This story was closely followed by M. M. Kaye’s Trade Wind which so vividly described Zanzibar that I felt a pull to visit all places exotic.
Books have always been a part of my life, they gave me the name for my oldest daughter ~ Anjuli from The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye. The stories that I read shaped me and molded me, they helped to become the creative, eccentric, ballsy, loud~mouthed woman that I am today. No, I don’t travel the world as a journalist but I do help students discover new places (both offline and online) as a librarian. I’m not helping to change history but I do get to discuss the way it has impacted the present as an history instructor. I’m not living with pygmies in the middle of a jungle but I’m always in danger of a coup as a wife and mom. So, no, my life didn’t turn out how I thought it would but it has turned out the way it should.
What about you? Is your life what you expected it to be when you were a teenager?