My life was supposed to be so much more exciting than this.
For instance, if you had told me in high school that I would not only go to college in-state but also end up living in a town an hour away from home, I would have told you that was the worst thing that could ever happen. I was getting out of Georgia and never coming back. I would go to some ivy-festooned college up north and after graduation, I would have a cute apartment with lots artsy decor in a big city. I'd work as a writer, but I would still have tons of free time and money to travel and go to concerts, plays and other cultural events. Above all, I would have confidence, because I would have made it (Cue the Mary Tyler Moore theme song).
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Everyone has moments when life doesn't live up to expectations. A lot of people in downtown Columbus probably experienced this kind of feeling when they went to see the Eagle and Phenix Dam blast last week. You were expecting something like that scene in "Superman," when Lex Luthor sends out a missile, destroying the Hoover Dam, and Superman has to fly around the world backwards to stop it from happening, weren't you? (I was. So was my editor.)
Instead, the blast came and went rather quietly. Some people close to the site might have heard it, but I wasn't one of them and I work downtown. Rattling windows and flying debris? Nope. There was a giant dam cake though -- maybe they should have blown that up?
My overactive imagination and too much TV is probably to blame for disappointment over the dam and my life post-high school. On TV and in movies every event is big and overdramatic. The dam blows sky high and water rushes in a tidal wave. You go to your dream school, graduate to a lot of fanfare and live in a city where exciting things happen to you every day.
Drama in real life happens more quietly. For the most part, change is subtle. It takes more than an explosive blast, a college degree or a move to a new city to make you feel like your world and your life is different than it used to be. Sometimes you don't even notice the changes until long after they happen.
I still haven't totally given up on my dream of having a more exciting life. My apartment is tiny and not cute, but I still try to decorate it in creative ways and wish it were bigger. I travel and go out, though not as much as in my dream life. Being close enough to my parents' house to visit on the weekends has been more of a blessing than I ever thought, but I wonder if what my life would be like if I had moved farther away. Could I still? Do I want to?
I feel like I have gained confidence, even if I haven't "made it," by my teenage standards. If I truly ever do, I'll be looking for a theme song and a giant cake.
Sara Pauff, 706-320-4469. For more commentary, read her 20-something blog at www.ledger-enquirer.com/sara.