My big dream at the age of 18

I’ve mentioned before that one of the main reasons I was eager to switch to a new blog name and domain was because I want to freely write about anything and everything without always feeling like I had to add a green twist to my posts. Even though I feel very happy with my decision and more comfortable in my new home on the web, I still struggle at times to come up with something to write about. When I saw a recent tweet from @MamaKatsLosinIt on Twitter with her writing prompts for this week, I thought this is just what I need. She offers several prompts to get your brain juices flowing in hopes of coming up with a great post for your blog. Then you get to come back to her site, link up, click on a few others who have linked their posts, and leave some comment love for everyone. Sounds fun, right? I thought so too. Of the several prompts she offered this week, this is the one that jumped out to me immediately:

What was your big dream for yourself when you were 18 and had graduated from high school?
I actually turned 18 in November of my senior year in high school and my plan was to start college the following fall. That might sound pretty typical, but for my family this wasn’t the case. By family, I mean my entire family on my Mom’s side and on my Dad’s side. I was going to be the first person to go to college and graduate. I was eager and excited at the thought. I wanted to make everyone proud of me and I thought this was a way to get that recognition. Although I didn’t have anyone exactly encouraging me to further my education, it just seemed to be the next step in my future. I enrolled at a school near my home and started my first year of college in the fall of 1990. I lived at home and drove to school every day while working a couple of part-time jobs and spending as much time as possible with my boyfriend before he left for boot camp in the Navy. After boot camp he went to “A” school and I missed him like crazy. I kept working hard in school and at my jobs, though, because it was what I was supposed to do. Things in my home weren’t exactly wonderful, making missing my boyfriend more and more painful. The end of my college year came as well as the news of my boyfriend’s first assignment. He was to be stationed in San Diego, California. Three thousand miles away from where we both lived. I knew phone calls would be minimal and visits less.
I don’t even remember much about what led to my next decision, but it all seemed to happen so quickly. I decided not to return to college, sold my car, backed everything that I could, and moved to California. For a girl that had barely left the state, let alone on a plane, this was huge. I don’t even remember my parents trying to talk me out of it. I don’t recall a conversation about how important it was to stay in college. I should be fair and say that just because I don’t remember it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t. I think it gave them some relief to have me leave.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t become the first college graduate in my family, my cousin did. Honestly, every time I hear my grandmother brag about him and use those words he was the first, it hurts a little. She was supposed to say that about me as she beamed with pride. Now I don’t for one minute think she says it to upset me and I’m sure she has no idea how much I wanted it to be me that she spoke of with such pride, but these are my feelings. It was my dream. Here’s another thing, though. I can’t say I regret my decision, except maybe when my husband (yes, we were eventually married – eloped actually) is annoying the crap out of me and I think to myself what the heck was I thinking moving clear across the country for him! To regret would mean I wish away the life I did and do have so I can’t allow myself to go there. I made some wonderful friends in San Diego, lived in the most amazing city anywhere (yes, I want to move back so bad that it hurts sometimes), experienced some incredible moments including conceiving our first son, Cody, and married the man that’s still my husband, all while living there. Sometimes our dreams don’t go as we hope and plan for them to, but sometimes what’s meant to be is way more awesome than we could have imagined.


  1. What an essay, I can imagine it would be tough to watch someone else capture your dream like that. I was charmed to read that you realized all of your other dreams in San Diego – that’s my home too! Thanks for stopping by my blog, it’s fun to find yours.
    Lisa recently posted..Please- Take My PepperMy Profile

    • Thanks Lisa! I too am glad to have found your blog through MamaKat’s writing prompt. I can’t wait to get to know everyone better.

  2. Wow, I don’t think I would’ve ever been able to just pick up and leave like that. But, I’m so glad everything worked out for you, and you’re absolutely right, what’s meant to be sometimes ends up being the best!

    • Thank you Jackie. I’m pretty sure a lot of people thought I was crazy to go at such a young age, but there was probably no talking me out of it. 🙂

  3. great post. you may not have got the title of first in the family to graduate college but i’d say you have the most courage and are most adventures to make a move that that so young. glad it all worked out for you!
    alisha recently lifes windowMy Profile

    • Wow! Thanks for calling me courageous. I wouldn’t have thought that at the time, but it’s a huge compliment. Those who knew me probably thought I was crazy and stubborn. Thanks for visiting!

  4. I loved reading your post Cathy. Packing up and heading to San Diego was certainly meant to be-and it’s so nice to hear that everything is way more awesome than you could have ever imagined. You know that you accomplishments are amazing-and that’s all that matters 🙂 San Diego’s calling you back…..August!!!
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted..Product Review- Poofy Organics SunscreenMy Profile

  5. The Reason You Come says

    18-year-old you reminds me of myself at that age. I understand moving thousands of miles away for love. I would have done it, too. I still would (and in fact, will). I agree that it’s courageous…and crazy! 😉
    The Reason You Come recently posted..Smoke and RedemptionMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for visiting and for the comment….love and what we do for it, crazy sometimes, but mostly worth it. 😉 Sounds like you have wonderful plans as well!!!


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