A 5th-grade prediction for the Year 2000
Well, I have approximately 145 days to get married, start a family, quit my job at the newspaper, and become a scientist that works five days a week from 8:30 to 5 who comes home every night to make dinner.
Oh yeah, and purchase a big white house with red shutters and a wrap-around porch. With horses in the back yard.
All of this is according to my predictions for my future when I was a fifth-grader.
When I was in Virginia last month for my friend Allison’s wedding, I visited with my grandmother and took a trip down memory lane.
Bless her heart, Grandma Hutch has saved little keepsakes throughout the years I was growing up. On this visit, I was particularly interested in reading my fifth-grade paper entitled: “Me in the Year 2000.” Perhaps it was the realization that friends my age are suddenly getting married, planning honeymoons and starting families that spurred my interest.
As I read my somewhat daunting predictions of where I thought I’d be today, I realized how much I’ve grown up in the last 13 years.
In fifth grade, in bubbly, cursive handwriting, I wrote: “After college, I would change my image completely. I would become classy.”
“My husband would be a doctor or a teacher and drive a Pontiac GL (I’m not too sure what that’s all about. Aren’t Pontiac’s so 1980s? Must have been a friend’s parents’ car or something.). He would have blue eyes and strawberry blond hair …”
“My older lifestyle involves hard work for me and my husband which I will be willing to do.”
How could I know at age 11, how far I would miss the mark. But as I read through the intricately detailed description of my large white house with antique furniture and became nauseated by paragraphs dedicated to describing my weekend job of teaching horseback riding lessons – I was a horse girl – I was delighted and relieved to read my very last paragraph.
I gave my little fifth-grade soul a pat on the back for being so brilliant.
I wrote: “I know I am going to have to change a lot. Will I be ready? Perhaps this is a fantasy which involves many luxuries.”
So I haven’t yet amounted to all I thought I would. I won’t be married at age 25, or a homeowner in the Year 2000.
I shared this thought with my friend Nicole, who was recently on her way through town, car overflowing with all of her belongings. She had spent the last six years living in ski towns in Summit County, Colo., Tahoe and Idaho and was on her way to San Diego to go to graphic design school.
She opened her trunk to pull out some old photos and showed me one of her most prized possessions.
In kindergarten, her class was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. On a piece of frayed construction paper scribbled in different colored crayons, Nicole wrote at age 5: “When I grow up I want to be a ski bum,” next to a drawing of herself ripping it up on the slopes.
Her project has since been framed. She did exactly what she said she was going to do when she was in kindergarten for the past six years of her grown up life. Anything she does now can be considered over-achieving.
Now why couldn’t I have written something like that instead. Maybe I wouldn’t have to cringe when my Grandma leaves it out on the coffee table in her room for all to read.
So I am using my disclaimer as a scapegoat and am pleading “fantasy.” The interesting thing is how that fantasy has changed now that I am older. A home, a husband, a family, even the responsibilities of owning and caring for a horse are too much to fantasize about these days. Instead I think about traveling, visiting friends, meeting new people, getting wood for the winter and hopefully skiing by next month.
I hope none of my fifth-grade projections come true in the next 145 days leading up to my 25th birthday.
The moral of the story is: don’t hold on to those elementary school assignments that may come back to haunt you.
Abby Hutchison is a reporter at the Sierra Sun who wants to be a ski bum when she grows up.
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