ten years and eighteen images

Last Wednesday, I received the invitation to my ten-year high school reunion.  The fact that my reunion was taking place that following weekend (three days after I received the invite), seemed to confirm the rumored poor event planning.  I didn’t attend, not solely because my invitation was absurdly late, but also because a trip back to the states this summer just wasn’t feasible.

It feels too soon to have my reunion, as if I haven’t really become an adult yet.  Granted, ten years is a fair amount of time, but it seems to have passed so quickly.  The realization has caused inevitable self-reflection, which has provoked this negative internal monologue reminding me–I’m nothing in this world and nowhere near as intelligent, successful, or established as other many other humans my age.

I know better than to listen to that mean-voice-of-my-insecurities but I was still left feeling disappointed and disheartened. I guess I hadn’t really realized this was adulthood. Right?  I mean, right now–what I’m doing is adulthood?

But in all honesty, adulthood is pretty bitchin.  I wasn’t great at being a kid; although, I was great at being obnoxious, lanky, and awkward.  I tend to be too hard on myself.  I’m generally quite content and happy with my life–and isn’t that what ultimately matters?

I don’t know where I expected to be ten years from graduation?  I knew I was going to college, and that was about it.  I figured I’d end up teaching English or some other reasonable profession.  I didn’t expect to be an artist.  I didn’t think I would really go to college to get a degree in art. I had been told throughout childhood that “art was a hobby”, not an actual career for real people—I could only be successful if I died, preferably in a memorably tragic way.  I certainly didn’t expect to marry the military, or be living and traveling abroad.

I’m the result of my past—and this is a very brief summary of the ten years since 2002:

•  I’ve been to France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, England, China, Switzerland, Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Austria, Hong Kong, Scotland, and the Czech Republic. In college, I studied abroad with Oxford University, as well as a summer study abroad program in China. 

•  I got married far younger than I ever intended or expected (and became a military spouse), to be able to have a relationship with my partner who was getting stationed in England.

•  Since high school, I’ve lived in Minnesota, Montana, England, and the Azores.

•  I modeled as a hobby while in England, it’s still fun to play dress-up.

•  I’ve had a job with my own office and a retirement plan. And I’ve had to quit that job with my own office and a retirement plan. (I had a horrible job experience, that I am only now distanced enough to appreciate the personal growth and knowledge gained from such an appallingly toxic work environment.  Leaving that job changed my career ambitions entirely.)

•  My was diagnosed depression still lingers, but I’m better at managing it. I am better at maintaining a positive frame of mind.

•  I’ve had two solo art exhibitions, and my work has been shown internationally. I have taken part in over ten group exhibitions, and my artwork has been published art magazines available nationwide.

•  I have made mistakes. And I have repeated some, and not repeated others.

•  I workout more now, but I still hate running, and feel awkward in gym shorts.

•  I have tattoos and have/had various piercings.

•  I was a vegetarian for four years and stopped being a vegetarian when I moved to England.

So that is some of ten years, I suppose.

Is it any wonder why we all leave home? People say, ‘I knew you when you were six years old.’ And I say,  ‘But I’ve changed, I’ve changed, I’ve changed.’
The Head and The Heart

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