I created the first timeline for my life in fourth grade for the Time Capsule project. I still remember the smell of old coffee that seeped from the can my mom let me use from the garage. It was serious business. I had my fourth grade classmates sign pieces of paper and put their LifeTouch school pictures gently inside, because obviously when I opened this Time Capsule in 20 years, the first thing I would have wanted was their headshots with bright green backgrounds and their newly learned, cursive signature.
I remember planning out what I thought my life would be like. Being an adult was worlds away, but I was confident I would go to college and get a job (at that point, my dream was being a meteorologist…actually won a speech contest full of Weather-Woman one-liners that ended with, “Back to you, Bill.” Speaking of this, where can I get my hands on the $50 Savings bond I won from that contest????
I didn’t become a meteorologist, but I went to school, got a job right away, and for the most part have made my fourth grade self appear to be a genius psychic. Nailed it.
But 9 year old Jenna, also planned on being married and the mother of a pair of toddlers by 22. (I realize this was a bit pre-emptive and would have also made me a teenage mom, but regardless, this is where fortune-teller Jenna got it wrong.) I am neither married, nor a mother.
I spent the past weekend with my amazing, hilarious, gorgeous friends from college. 2 are married, 1 with a baby, and the other engaged and planning a wedding. Almost every single friend from school is at that stage of life (can’t really blame it on the #christiancollege situation, because at this point we are all at acceptable ages for these life events)
Anyways, at dinner, someone brought up the question (ok it was me, I think)
“Are you where you thought you would be at this point in your life?” (Yeah, Mexican restaurants bring out the deep philosophers in us) and for the most part, they all answered yes.
Except for me (probably why I asked the question…so I could make them listen to the things I wanted to say). I am not where I thought I would be. As happy as I am with my beautiful, wonderful life, I am supposed to be planning married couple trips with my friends and taking pictures of our huge, big dog and exhausting myself trying to keep a house clean. According to my timeline, I should be thinking about babies and mortgages.
So here’s the thing:
I am not where 9 year old Jenna, or 15 year old Jenna, or even 22 year old Jenna thinks I should be.
But am exactly where I am supposed to be.
I am living life to the fullest for the first time.
I am learning
I am teaching
I am loving
I am singing
I am belly-laughing
I am full of joy.
If 21, 22, 23, 24 year old Jenna would have followed her own timeline, I may have physically been where I wanted to be, but I would be living out my timeline in a broken, half-life type of way.
I have been through things the past year I never expected, but totally needed. I found myself in all of the brokenness.
I am where I am, not where I should be. Not where most 25 year olds are. Not where people think I should be. Not where 9 year old Jenna thought I would be.
I am exactly where I should be. And you know what? It’s awesome.So take that, 9 year old Jenna. And go floss the Captain Crunch out of your teeth before your school picture.
Blessings, not chins.