Confession: Occasionally I doubt the decisions I've made. Occasionally I ask myself “what if?” Occasionally I look at my friends and wonder if they know something I don't.
Should I have attended such an expensive, private university? I'm leaning towards teaching high school rather than earning my Ph.D., so it's not as though I need the prestigious credentials.
What if I had gone to grad school straight after undergrad, instead of moving to France? I could be halfway towards my Ph.D. already, with my Master's in hand.
If everyone else is having sex, then why I do I continue to wait for marriage? No one would fault me or think I'm hypocritical. Waiting to be in love is still an accomplishment.
Occasionally these thoughts run through my head. But most of the time?
I'm totally confident in what I've done, who I am, and where I'm going.
I've watched my dreams come true, from joining a sorority to studying abroad in France, from working in France to interning at my sorority's headquarters.
I'm a fearless young woman in love for the first time, working for an amazing French family in a friendly suburb of a glamorous city, and gearing up to move to Canada with them.
I continue to follow my heart, as I've always done. My heart has led me outside of the South, which may always be home, but is no longer big enough to contain me.
Life doesn't always happen the way we plan it, and that can be a good thing. Yes, be ambitious, set goals, but when your heart's desire changes, don't be afraid to change your life along with it.
- Make my debut sophomore year
- Fall in love with a gentleman of Beta Omega Rho* sometime sophomore or junior year (he would be my first kiss, my first everything)
- Study abroad in France junior year
- Become president of Delta Nu* my junior/senior year
- Get engaged my senior year
- Juggle grad school first with wedding planning, then with being a newlywed
Yes, I was a little bit crazy, or at the very least, naïve, at 18.
My life is so much better than I had originally planned (although I was a debutante and of course I studied in Versailles for three months). Instead of making my everyday dreams come true, I made my wildest childhood dreams come true.
- I've biked along the Seine
- I've stayed at the family farm in Norway
- I've sunbathed topless in Antibes and in Nice
- I've heard the Vienna Boys Choir sing at Sunday mass
- I've ridden on the back of a motorcycle in Marseille
- I've kissed men (and women) from all over the world
- I've celebrated New Year's Eve in Paris
- I've witnessed the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Prague's Old Town Square
- I've seen Wicked in both New York City and London
- I have a tattoo on my foot, with three worldwide counterparts (my best friends currently live in Australia, South Korea, and Canada)
My heart's desires changed, and my mind changed along with it. I have the freedom to change, to grow as a woman, as a human being.
It doesn't make me a hypocrite.**
Clearly I changed my ideal of only kissing one man, only sharing intimacy with one man.
But I didn't abandon it completely.
I might no longer be saving everything sexual for my husband, but I'm still saving that one final act for him and him alone.
And if circumstances become different, I reserve the right to follow my heart again and change my mind on abstinence.
I've gone with my instincts in life. Sometimes I've made mistakes. Sometimes I've done some really stupid, really dangerous things.
I've laughed. I've cried. I've acknowledged my fears, and I've overcome them. I've loved. I've had my heart broken. I've found adventure. I've taken comfort in familiarity.
This was me, this is me, this will always be me.
But more than anything?
I live free of regrets.
*Fake name for one of my favorite fraternities.
**One of many reasons I would never judge someone for making a choice differently than I have done.