And that, in turn, reminds me of the choices I did not make, the paths I passed by. My older sisters are all married, Jenny a month after her 20th birthday, Amanda at 22, and Carrie around the same age. The first two pop out kids fast enough to make your head spin (They're all really cute though). My little sister is a devout Mormon who will undoubtedly go to Brigham Young University in search of her MRS degree.
I, on the other hand, inherited my father's intense need for travel, love of companionship, and slight fear of commitement. I could have followed my sisters. I could have married my high school sweetheart, saved up for a nice little house in suburbia, or go to college, meet a nice guy, spend $40,000 on a degree I would never use because I would be at home raising his kids. I don't have anything against people who marry, or have kids. It's just I was never one of those women who's biggest goal was a wedding. I would rather elope at city hall and spend the money on a kick-ass honeymoon roaming Nepal, getting lost in Japan, scuba diving in Austrailia, running with bulls in Pamplona, or visiting clubs in Amsterdam.
I have nothing against kids, honestly, I just plan on never giving birth to one. I would rather adopt, or if the guy already had kids from another relationship, spoil the hell out of them ^_^ Some people would have issues raising another person's kid, but honestly I would prefer it. There are so many kids in this world who need good parents, I cannot morally justify having my own kids when I know there are those out there who need a loving family. Being a stay at home mom was never on my list of life-goals. (Stay-at-home dads, on the other hand, are awesome. I couldn't find any on Craig's list though. Maybe the new models aren't out yet, Sweden bought all the last ones.)
A lot of people in my high school class got married/engaged in our senior year. That was their plan to mature, their only way out, their statement of adulthood. Life would be better for them, because they had a ring on their finger. While the logic is laughable, there is comfort in having a companion at your side as you stumble through life, especially the hard years of youn adulthood, years of crappy low paying jobs, living below poverty, getting into debt in the name of education. To have someone eases the stressfulness of starting out. I can understand that. The choices we make, the paths we choose, define us. I don't believe in a divine plan, and while most Buddhist believe in reincarnation, I can't guarantee that either. Why bother worrying about what-comes-next? Why not focus on what-is-now?
I could have had this:
Me and my high school sweetie, Stoner, with a kid. (Portrayed by the lovely Morgan Bacon, my awesome niece.)I could have had this. But I don't. It's not the path I chose.
Instead, so far, I've gotten this:
Late night, stressed-out, caffine-induced cramming for classes and finals
Bellydancing all summer long and perfecting my shimmy
Babysitting drunken room mates
Amazing raves with beautiful music pulsing through the night
The occasional party (I don't really drink, but this is the only picture I have of the best party I went to)
10 body piercings (and more modifications coming soon)
One snake, a cute baby ball python
Crazy, uber-dorky friends
Dancing until the sun came up
A couple of driving mis-adventures (easily remedied by duct tape)
World Travel. I've covered France, Italy, Monaco, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russian, Estonia, Germany, Denmark, Canada so far.
Buddhism and spiritual discovery.
Quiet moments filled with peace and happiness. Times of sorrow and frustration, days of anxiety and fear, moments of joy, of contentment, of wonder.
I will never be the type of person who says "I have no regrets." Of course I have regrets. I make mistakes, large and small, every single day and I've done stuff I'm not proud of. But that's how we learn, from both our successed and our failures. This is the path I choose, and it would be foolish of me not to enjoy traveling it.