I remember when I was seventeen, working as a secretary at a school during summer hours trying to kill time. I got online, which was really high-tech and new at that point, and found some calculator that told you how much you would need to earn to live the lifestyle you wanted. I remember thinking how frivolous most of the items were that you could check: gym membership, manicures/pedicures, nutritionist, physical trainer, hair stylist, dining out weekly with friends, own apartment, own car, attend concerts, vacation a couple times per year, owning a pet, living in the city vs. living in the country...you get the picture. I went out on a limb to check mark all the things of which a little girl from a farm town in Ohio could only dream.
I remember for ten summers (13-22) riding along on our riding lawnmower for three to four hours at a time singing Broadway songs at the top of my lungs in our back field while dreaming of the day I would finally make it to New York City. And those girls who would get their hair cut at a stylist and colored - oh man, I knew their families had to be loaded. I felt so very blessed to be able to be part of the YMCA gymnastics team, a baton competition team, and show choir. My parents made huge sacrifices for me - driving me all over the country for competitions, ponying up money for costumes, and helping with ridiculous fund-raisers. I was never at a want for anything, but probably because my parents taught me the value of a dollar. I would sleep anywhere as long as I could sleep, wear anything, eat anything, etc. I would cling to my $30 on vacations as long as I could and then treasure whatever I finally decided to purchase as if it were a crown jewel. I would cry when my mom bought me something expensive and beg her not to spend that kind of money on me.
I look at my life now. You can scroll through my phone and find numbers for my: stylist, nutritionist, physical trainer, pedicurist, and favorite take-out. You can follow my life and know I travel regularly, have a VIP gym membership, have my own place, and am pretty much up-to-date with fashion and technology trends.
When did I become that girl? When did I start living this life I once thought was a frivolous dream? As much as I feel I am living a dream-come-true, I feel slightly guilty knowing that I can be 100% happy with so much less. Regardless, I do know that my life is extremely blessed and I need to remember to count those blessings much more often.