02 October 2012


I remember a primary school writing assignment – it had to have been in the fourth grade. I was 10. My classmates and I sat in a room in the still-new Black Fox Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and listened as the teacher advised us that we were to write about what life would be like in 20 years.

Since I had lost all imagination years before, I wrote about a practical life. I remember reading aloud, stating that I would be 30. I would be married and would likely have two children. That’s all I remember. I have no idea what I said my profession would be or what career level I would have achieved. I remember that most of my classmates took the assignment seriously and only a couple people went crazy creative.

One kid, the tall, lanky guy with glasses who, at the time, was a bit of a geek but is likely now gorgeous and successful, started talking about how cars would be flying. I knew someone would write about that, but I also knew that 20 years was way too soon for that idea to actually come to fruition.

He talked about aliens, too. His name was Allan. The teacher was thrilled when he started spilling his ideas of how our world would evolve so quickly to a world not unlike our friends’, the Jetsons. “It’s about time!” the teacher said, smiling and wide eyed, interrupting Allan’s storytelling. When he finished, she gave us a bit of a non-threatening lecture about being more adventurous in our creative writing initiatives. I didn’t realize we were supposed to make up a life. I was a realist. I wrote about the logical path I thought I would take, though I do remember it was quite boring. I just figured this was another one of those made-from-recycled paper, jumbo-script pages that my mom would keep and I would later compare to my actual life.

The truth is that I have no idea whether or not my mother kept that page. Mom, if you do have it, e-mail me a copy so that we can conduct a case study.

When I dreamed of my life, as a 10-year-old striving to see myself at 30, I dreamed of practicality. I would be married. Check. I would have been a mom. Uncheck. I think I probably wrote that I would be home with my kids. Double uncheck. I know I thought I would be living in America. Super uncheck. I am pretty sure I wrote that I would have a dog. I’m not going there – no comments about the girlfriend, please.

It’s funny how a practical line starting at one point in life can turn into an unpredictable line with a hyphen, some parentheses, an ellipsis and a question mark at the end…maybe even something that looks like the edge of a cliff.

Instead of writing about flying cars and kids, I should have written that I would be living in some crazy place like Asia. I should have written about how I would have travelled to many countries, would be attending Formula 1 races and flying in planes with my husband, would have friends literally all over the world and how I would have the ability to talk to people over the Internet – which had just really come into play at that time – for free. THAT would have been an unbelievable story. 

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