What was most interesting about my elementary building in Edmonton was that in addition to grades K-6, it also housed an all-girls junior high school on its upper levels. They had to wear uniforms so the junior high girls were always easy to spot. When I was in grade 3 or 4, sometimes during recess, a junior high girl named Amanda would come and play with us. I don’t quite remember why she first started talking to us, but she’d come by every now and then. I really looked up to Amanda. I thought she was pretty, smart, and had a warm personality.
When you are a girl in grade school, you don’t look up to your mom or adults. Instead, you idolize a slightly younger generation, but a few years older than yourself. You marvel at their vast knowledge of the world and degree of autonomy. When they talk to you, it’s genuine conversation, versus talking to adults who would mostly criticize and chastise. I was personally captivated by Amanda’s independence and her success. (She was in junior freaking high! She wore the prettiest hair accessories! She had a boyfriend!) I imagined myself at that age, and I saw myself living Amanda’s life. I thought, “of course, by then I will be just as cool as her”.
As you can probably guess, I wasn’t even close to having all the things she had when I hit that age. I had zero fashion sense (track pants all the way), didn’t have cool places to go out to, and was nowhere close to touching a boy.
I always had a picture of where I would be when I got to a certain phase in my life. I look at the people around me whose lives I am envious of, and I picture myself being in their position. But then when I reach that same stage, it’s nothing like I imagined. Sometimes I’m better off, and sometimes worse.
By now, most of the people I know are probably finished school. We might be starting our first jobs in the real world or trying to find one. It’s a defining yet puzzling moment in our lives. I’m sure many of us are familiar with the “quarter life crisis”, either through having experienced it or maybe being approached by a friend about it. It’s a time of reflection.
I never would have imagined I would be the person I am now. So I propose to you the following question:
Are you where you thought you’d be at this point in your life?
What did you imagine you’d be doing in your early twenties when you were 5, 10, 15 years old (hell, even just last year)? The kind of friends you’d have? Places and activities you’d enjoy? Your role in society? Your values and attitudes on life? The things you’d talk and joke about with your friends? Your accomplishments? Relationship expectations?