Remember being a teenager and knowing everything? I do. I had my entire life mapped out. Now remember actually going into the real world and realizing that none of what you knew mattered? Because I distinctly remember that too. I was going to be in the Biology field, have no student loan debt, buy a house before I ever needed to rent a home, maybe get married one day but probably not, and be the cool aunt. Fast forward 15+ years later. While I am, indeed, the cool aunt, and I did eventually get married, that’s about all I got right. I went to school for Biology. I also changed my major 12 times because the aptitude and career quizzes they give you in high school are total BS. I wanted to be a veterinarian from the age of 8 on. Know what every single career quiz I took in high school told me to go to school for? A veterinarian! At 17 this seems remarkably accurate. Then you get to college and start taking classes and realize that there are so many careers out there that you never even heard of, let alone considered. While I always stuck with the Biology theme, the actual career that I wanted changed dramatically over the years. Finally, I found a field that fascinated me – Forensic Anthropology. I’m maybe a semester and a half away from my bachelor’s degree in that. However, $40,000 in student loan debt and the realization that I would need a doctorate in that field to even be considered for a job (can you say more student loans?), topped with the fact that most Forensic Anthropologists are working as professors just to get by and only get to actually go in the field on an on call basis and I’m thinking I’m good where I’m at.
College did expand my horizons and I learned things I never would have studied of my own volition. Not $40,000 worth of things, but that is neither here nor there. One of the greatest things I took from my college experience is a random quote that I found on a bookmark in the campus book store while I was racking up more debt, I mean, shopping for textbooks. It is just a simple metal bookmark with a hunter green ribbon at the top, but I’ve had this thing in my possession for about 15 years now because of the quote engraved upon it.
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot
This quote fascinated me. It still does. It is justification for any change I’ve ever wanted to make in my life. The end of a relationship or the beginning of a new one, changing majors, changing schools, becoming a single mother, going back to school again, learning a new language, starting this blog… The list is endless. This is the quote that defines my life. No matter what I want to do, it is never too late. I’m never too old to take on a new journey (marriage and becoming a mother again) or revert back to an old one (writing for fun and for my own enjoyment). It is my argument for every “can’t” that works its way into my psyche. It is what inspires me.
There are still days that I’m unsure. I’ve been talking about starting this blog for months but only actually made it a reality a week ago. I just didn’t think I was interesting enough or had a strong enough message. Then I saw my bookmark and remembered that it’s never too late and I began to write. There are days I still think of what I want to be when I grow up and worry that I’ll never get there. Then I see my quote again and have faith that I’ll find my path eventually. Or maybe this is my path.
I never thought I’d be a waitress/bartender for 13 years. I never believed I wouldn’t have what others deem a “respectable career” (*before I get inundated with hate mail please remember that it’s my career too – what puts dinner on my table and pays my bills – I’m not knocking the profession, simply stating there are many out there who do not respect it as a career path*). But my bills are paid and this is the path that gave me my daughter and ultimately led me to my husband. It’s really not such a terrible road to be on. Especially if the alternative means not having them.
I have no idea what lies on the road ahead. I only know that whatever decision I make, “it is never too late” to make it.
What quote inspires you? I can’t wait to hear about it.