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 and, like the Jesuits say, reflecting, a lot about how far I have come with 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 that she loved writing. It filled her with a sense of purpose that was new to her. But she knew that she liked it.
By the time she was 15 and in the throws of adolescence, Carly decided that she should be a journalist. Carly thought she knew everything about the world, and therefore knew that she could become a world-renowned journalist easier than becoming the next great American author. She sought refuge in her journals and in her newspaper class.
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.