Why is it that life never turns out the way you think it will?
When I was in high school, this was my plan: go to college, be a Division I soccer star, get a master's degree, have my doctorate by the time I was 25, continue to be amazing.
When I was 18: Go to Texas Tech, major in journalism, be a soccer star plus be the next Woodward and Bernstein, be super popular and really involved, date a lot, etc. in general still be amazing. I don't remember my feelings on continuing education.
When I graduated with a BA: Make The University Daily the No. 1 college newspaper in America. Marry this guy I'd known for years who was almost perfect for me. (Not quite, because that would have been annoying.) Tear up grad school and amaze everyone with my awesomeness.
Pre-mission: Go to Morocco or somewhere exotic, learn French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, be an amazing missionary and make the work seem so exciting that my brother would want to go.
After my mission: Get a great job somewhere near a beach, learn to surf, make lots of money, convert Graham Harrell to Mormonism so I could marry him.
For you brave souls, let me tell you about the reality of what happened.
Post high school: Did not make the soccer team, sat out half the club soccer season. Debated quitting soccer because I'd never been in an environment like that before and I didn't know what to do. Did not make The UD staff the first couple of times I tried; finally did and sacrificed my social life and sanity. Did not date. Except for that one time, and yes, I'm lumping that entire year into "that one time." It's easier that way. Did not break any stories, although I will say I often at least tied the A-J.
Post-BA: Could not, would not, did not get accounting. Hated statistics and finance. Asked myself every day why on earth I was in business school. Got the job -- and completely tanked at it in some ways. Cried a LOT. Had some amazing moments with the man I was going to marry. Did not marry him. Finished my MBA feeling like a broken shell of the person I used to be.
Pre-mission: Got called to Salt Lake City. (Caveat: Loved it, so glad I did, would not trade it for anything. I just didn't feel this way when I got the call.) Wondered if I was going to be a crappy missionary so they'd sent me where I would do less damage. Still, however, was an amazing missionary, most of the time. I think.
Post mission: Lived at home for 9 months, working for minimum at Target (I still have some hard feelings) and just above minimum tutoring math and science and not able to work more than 40 hours a week. Couldn't afford a car, so I drove my dad's 16-year-old truck that started when it felt like it, and let me tell you, it didn't feel like very often. The closest I got to Graham Harrell was sitting in the north end zone when he was playing QB in the 2008 season. I had a job interview at a paper in Nashville -- but weeks later I saw the job opening back up on the Web. Ended up returning to Utah, the place I can't seem to get away from.
The ideal-reality just doesn't add up. And that's OK; really, life's better when it's unpredictable. I should probably stop planning for the ideal, though ...