The Flap of a Butterfly Wing

When I was 18 and a freshman in college my boyfriend and I broke up. Because when you are a freshman in college and your boyfriend is a freshman in college four hours away, that happens. You listen to sappy love songs and cry for a week, you crank up dance tunes and party for a week, and then you start to get over it. Unless you happen to be like me, where instead you fall into a two year tailspin that involves almost getting kicked out of college, dropping out of college, and racking up a bunch of credit card debt while drinking too much and calling your ex in the middle of the night sobbing because your life is a mess and you just know you are going to grow up to be a failure and it is all his fault.

Yes. This happened. No. I’m not proud. Yes. I’m super glad to be in my 30’s.

I wanted to attend a Big-10 school, study political science, get my law degree, and run for President. I was young, idealistic, and driven. I worked hard to get into UW-Madison and once there I worked my butt off to get good grades. Until the bottom fell out. Then I skipped my finals. And pretty much every class the following semester. Russian Lit in Trans was the exception. I LOVED that class. Nothing like the Russians and a good depressive episode.

I can’t imagine who I would be or what my life would look like if I hadn’t messed it up so spectacularly. I probably wouldn’t have been President but I also probably wouldn’t have been hit by a car walking across the street (sober) to see a boy who would end up breaking up with me in the middle of the night, in my hospital room, with his mother sitting next to him.

Yes. This also happened. And no, I’m not proud (though he should be ashamed). And yes, I’m glad to be in my 30’s.

I didn’t graduate from a Big 10 school. But that car accident pushed me to a place I needed to be. I married the most wonderful man and ironically, graduated from the same school the tailspin inducing boyfriend originally wanted me to attend. At 28. I didn’t go on to law school, but worked briefly as an accountant before becoming a stay at home wife and mother. It’s been a messy but good life. A life absolutely nothing like I had pictured it when I was 18.

My missed opportunities? I regret them but wouldn’t change them. They taught me some hard lessons. They make some great stories. And every single one of them got me to where I am now.

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