So I made it home to Vermont (take that Winter Storm Nemo)! I got in super late last night and couldn’t really sleep, so I started digging through my old desk. If you have not looked into the goldmine that is the corners of your closet or things shoved under your bed, I highly suggest that you do it.
Why? Because when you do, you find great gems like “My Life Timeline” which I made for a seventh grade class project. This was a real treasure of a find considering I wasn’t sure how I’d match up to my past self.
Well, I’m happy to admit that I actually did an okay job predicting the last decade or so! I did get a job while I was in high school, I went to college (though not the super specific one I listed on my timeline), and while I put that in my twenties I wanted to work for our local paper in Burlington, I actually did intern and write for them one summer while I was still in college.
Perhaps more surprising is that I’ve actually already done some of the things I had thought would happen way later in my life, like touring Europe or visiting my grandmother’s hometown in Ireland. On my timeline, those activities were going to happen at ages 77 and 82, respectively (I anticipate being a very active grandmother). It’s pretty cool how I followed through on those interests that started way back then.
One piece of my timeline particularly stood out to me. I was pretty obsessed with being a TV reporter in middle school, and all I wanted to do was host the Today Show. According to my life timeline, this was definitely going to happen when I was 32, under which I wrote, “To be on this, I need to work very hard.”
Even if at age 12 I didn’t really understand how the business world works, I still knew that goal was going to take work, but I wasn’t as overly concerned about making all the “right decisions” to get there. I just accepted that I could do these things, and I admire my little self’s total openness about my goals and dreams. I didn’t shy away from putting my dream job on there because it seemed like it could be too hard to achieve.
As I got older, I got more concerned with making the “right choices” and developed a little bit more of an eye-roll attitude. I guess I didn’t realize that I’ve been a little less open with people about all the stuff I want to accomplish because I’d get nervous thinking about if they didn’t all come true.
However, after taking a read from my middle school self, I realize that there’s nothing wrong with putting your dreams and goals out there without feeling like you have to micromanage every little step along the way from the get-go. It’s exciting to think about those goals in the distance and find your own path to get there.
I don’t really want to be a TV reporter anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still value working hard. Also, looking back on some of the other dreams that were important to me, it turns out that they are still my goals. For example, I’d still like to run a marathon (that’s slated for the year 2026) and write a children’s book (at a bookstore near you in 2033), and seeing it written down in all its colored pencil glory is kind of getting me psyched up again.
No matter what age you are, this could maybe be a fun project to just do (on a day when you’re snowed in, perhaps?) and just kind of forget it exists for awhile. It’s fun to look back later and see how you’ve changed (not only did I not buy a car at age 21, it turns out that I really hate driving and want to put off buying one as long as possible). Even more importantly for me though, it was a chance to rediscover things about myself that got a little lost along the way.
Have you ever found an old school project or letter from yourself? What was it like rediscovering it? Do you feel like you’re much different than you were in your earlier grades? Tell us in the comments!