Everyone has their own story, with a different beginning, middle, and end. As you grow up, you picture how your life will be ten or fifteen years down the road. Then as those ten or fifteen years creep up, a realization sets in. Life never ends up how you pictured it. There are so many different paths and hidden doors that lead you to a new destiny with every decision you make. It's true, what they say—every choice creates a ripple.
I'm going to be thirty. I'm not sad about it, or "mourning my twenties." However, it has made me take a seat and look back. I think everyone has had those "what if" moments. What if I finished college, what if I didn't go back to that bad relationship, what if I didn't have children so young. I use those examples because those are my what ifs. Those are the situations my mind goes to, because your subconscious knows where your most guilty what ifs lie.
So let's rewind.
My childhood was fantastic. I was born in '89; I feel like my generation was the last to truly enjoy being a kid. The internet wasn't a part of my home until sometime around grade 8. So, we played outside until the street lights came on. We went to the park (without parents, might I add. The thought of that makes me cringe now...). If we wanted to see our friends, we went and knocked on their door. There were no cell phones, no iPads. Just the fifteen pounds of outdoor gear for winter, and that freeing summer air that you soaked in because in Canada, it lasts about 10 weeks.
I had and still have the best family. Made high school easy because my mom always made sure that we could talk to her about anything. There were no secrets in our house. That didn't stop normal arguments, or a difference in opinion. But it helped with my communication skills, especially now that I have kids of my own. By all accounts, I would say my parents did it right. We were never hungry, we were never hit, and we were encouraged to be who we were, no matter what.
As my twenties approached, I felt the same excitement as anyone else. I was going to be an adult, and get to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Even though as a teenager my parents weren't very strict, that freeing feeling of 18 can make anyone fall under the category of "young and reckless." I didn't go to college, I didn't want to have the debt. Maybe I should have. I wanted to be a teacher so badly. I sometimes imagine my life if I did make the choice to go. But in that life my kids disappear, so I snap back to reality.
I was in a VERY unhealthy relationship from the time I was 16 until I was 25. Purely toxic. That classic on and off, first love, can't get away from him type deal. That slowly turned into an abusive, trapped, what am I going to do type deal. I had two children, both under the age of two. I had no friends and he had completely secluded me from my family. It took a chance meeting, of someone who I consider to be one of my very best friends, to get me to realize I'm worth more than what I was receiving; it took one final beat down before I finally called my parents; it took meeting the man I would later call my husband, and it took one quiet move out in the middle of the afternoon before I was finally done.
Now what if I stopped going back to him? Especially that last time. Well, then baby number two wouldn't be around and he owns half of my heart. So again, we snap back to reality.
Fast forward 4 years and I'm married to the most wonderful, handsome, kind-hearted, dirt on his boots, caring man I know. He's the best step-dad to our two boys. We have a beautiful house in the country side, with a wrap around porch and acres of land. We got married outside with everyone we love. My life was perfect.
Unfortunately, there are things that throw a wrench in your plan that don't ever turn into a "what if." Solely because you had zero control over it from the beginning. Cancer isn't a choice. But there I was, two weeks after saying I do, in the hospital watching a nurse try to put my a-cup boob into a giant machine. Then in a doctors office being told what my options are. Care to know what thoughts run through your head then? Cause it wasn't my job or my shitty past relationship. It was my kids. Their eyes. I wanted to remember their eyes. I was relieved in that moment that I DID have them so young, maybe they would have a better chance of remembering me. It was my husband and his hands, because I never wanted him to let me go. It was my parents and knowing the sound of their heartbreak was going to be worse than the sound of mine.
All those "what ifs" no longer matter. That life seems so distant now. It's all part of the story that is me and I know, in ten or fifteen years, my thirties will have been one of my most important chapters.