You can call me Captain Obvious for stating this, but things don’t always work out the way we have planned. We all have an idea internally about the path we want our lives to take. Whether it’s a solid road map with specific goals and time lines, or just a general idea of how we want things to fall into place, everyone has an ideal path. Life on the other hand, normally has a different plan. We are put in situations that cause us to panic and stray from the road. When it comes to the end of the day, can you say that, looking back, you have the right regrets?
At 17 I had a plan. I was in the honor society, participated in many sports and activities and had an amazing group of friends. My life was set out before me. I was planning to go to college and get my degree so I could have a successful career. I was going to get engaged by 25, married by 27 and be a home owner before I turned 30. I was planning for the white picket fence and dog in the front yard. I was going to see the world and grab life by the proverbial balls.
Then life happened. I moved out of my parent’s house while still a teen (who knew everything). I got myself into some bad debt and serious trouble with credit cards and by 22 I was pregnant. I stopped going to school so I could focus on working full time and being a mother. I was unwed and with a partner who was unsupportive. We both had a lot of growing up to do and were thrown into a situation that caused us to do so very fast. I was terrified. I thought my life was over.
As it turned out, I had to set aside my life plan and rewrite the timeline. We never ended up getting engaged or married. My 25, 27 and 30 all came and went. None of those ages came with an engagement ring or mortgage. I swapped my white picket fence and dog in the front yard for a downtown apartment and an overweight cat. Would I change any of it? No.
My daughter is my greatest accomplishment and having to struggle as a single mother since things fell apart with her father has taught me so much about life. It taught me how to be independent and caused me to grow up and let go of some of the sillier life goals I had secretly made for myself. My life plan had totally changed. Growing up, I never wanted children. When the pregnancy test came out positive, I thought I was doomed. How was I going to do this?
I did it. I pushed myself to get the best job I could find and worked hard to provide a life for us. There have been many nights spent working overtime, many days spent tired at my desk, yet it has all been worth it. I have the right regrets in life. Did I get to travel the world? No. Instead, I get to see the world around me through my daughter’s eyes and watch her marvel at things that in the past I would have overlooked. I don’t have the mortgage and fence, but I do have a secure home that my daughter and I have decorated together and made our own.
Maybe life isn’t supposed to go as planned. While we all have regrets, having the right ones makes life greater than we could have ever imagined. My life couldn’t be further from the life I had imagined, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.