Would your 16 year old self be impressed with what your 23 year old self had accomplished? I don't think mine would.
When I was 16, I pictured myself doing so many things. I was an actress, an artist, I worked for a fashion magazine in a big city. I was a model, a designer, a writer. there was even a time when I saw myself being a scientist. (Although getting a passable grade on one chemistry test throughout the whole year kind of put the kibosh on that, plus I don't think those CSI shows are exactly accurate in terms of how glamorous science is.)
I pictured myself going to college, graduating and then being successful in whichever field I chose. When I ended up going to college I took journalism. After a year or so of that, I decided that the job prospects for journalists was a bit too sketchy for me to handle. So I opted out of the second year and began navigating through a string of retail jobs for the next 3 years.
Now I work as a receptionist for a construction company and while it is a steady job in a not so steady economy, and while the people that I work with are lovely and it's a really positive and friendly environment, it is not my thing.
I've come to a point in my life where I feel i need to make a change or forever hold my piece. But the problem with that is that the lifestyle I've become accustomed to (a full time job with full time wages) is going to have to change. I'm so used to having an 8-4, Monday-Friday gig that the idea of having a random schedule, and wonky working hours quite literally scares me. I know it shouldn't.
I applied to go to college this year for Public Relations. With the understanding that public relations is a more encompassing version of journalism, with more jobs and a better future. I really want to go. And I just found out today that I've been accepted.
But the fact that I've whittled this lifestyle and mindset out for myself where I am not a student, and I am an adult who pays bills and thinks about marriage and buying a house, I feel like I can't go back to being a student. I feel like it's an impossibility because of my age and personality.
Plus the financial aspects of it. I am just getting by now with a great paying, full time job. All my bills get paid on time, I do have a chunk of debt, but I'm working on it. I'm comfortable enough to be able to go out on a Friday night or buy myself a new pair of shoes when I need them. (read: want them)
The idea of increasing my debt by about 5 times what it is now, is terrifying to me. At my age I feel like the ship hasn't just sailed; it's sailed, come back, left again, hit and iceberg and sunk Titanic style. Starting something new when you aren't a fresh faced teenager who doesn't know any better is tough.
When I first started college, failure wasn't an option, because I had never experienced it before. Now, four years later, I know what it's like to have school not work out, have a job not be what you thought it was. And putting all my eggs (and money) in the college basket, is such a tough decision.
On the flipside of it, you have to go through tough things to get the things you want, ie. a career I can covet and be proud of. Do I bite the proverbial bullet and go to school, struggle financially, be a little embarrassed to be in classes with 18 and 19 year olds, and possibly gain an interesting job that I can enjoy? Or do I stick where I am, getting older and older, not making any changes or taking risks, making money but never really feeling truly satisfied with the work I do during the week?
When I put it like that, it sounds like an easy decision doesn't it? Too bad things are never as easy as they seem.