>Have you ever thought about what you would be doing in your life if you weren’t doing what you are doing right now? “Huh?” you ask. Sounds like a tongue twister or a riddle, doesn’t it?
Basically it comes down to this…are you doing (in your personal and professional life) what you envisioned for yourself twenty years ago? What about 15 years ago? 10 years ago? 5 years ago? Did you think you would be where you are in your life today? What were your dreams and goals way back then? Did you reach them or excel beyond them? Did you fall short, or are you still climbing trying to get there? Have you completely changed your dreams and goals from long ago to something more fitting of your character now?
TWENTY YEARS AGO….
Twenty years ago it was March 11, 1990 and I was a freshman in high school…my sister was born February 12th that year so I was beaming all over the place ecstatic at having a new addition to the Foreman family. March meant track season…and I was one of the captains on our team. I was 14 years old and in my mind I was a future Flo Jo who would also have a successful career as a sprinter, journalist, lawyer, and teacher. In my mind I had it figured out. I knew I could juggle all four careers without a hiccup.
I’ve always loved writing. It was a passion of mine to write books and articles, and travel the world documenting all of the beautiful and ugly things that I saw. At the age of 14 I had already envisioned being married by age 21 or 22, and having 4-5 children before age 30. I saw myself owning a Tudor home somewhere tucked away in Southern California on a few acres.
Visitors would have to drive up a long driveway lined with Weeping Willows and other flowy trees and flowers, that eventually led to a circular driveway that had a cute sculpture in the center with water cascading along the sides.
I could see my grand doors, the foyer, my spiral staircase, and the deep mahogany wood throughout the home. I would slide on the hardwood floors with my children and our dogs as we chased “daddy” around the house. Somewhere on that property I visualized a swing that is seen on most ranch-style homes (definitely not a Tudor) but I’m not sure where exactly…it was a detail in my dreams I could not pinpoint.
One thing that I did know was that the grass was always green, the pool always sparkling, the horses were always happy, I never was chased off from a bug or insect while I read under my Weeping Willows, and my home always felt warm with love.
I saw myself taking law courses at USC Law School and every lawyer that saw me dreaded losing to me…they knew I knew my “stuff”. My husband would also be a force to be reckoned with. I hadn’t put much thought into his career path, but I knew he would be highly intelligent, highly visible and sought after (in a positive way of course). I knew he was attractive, with a great smile, athletic, charming, and had a great sense of humor. I knew he would love me and our children, and that we would love him unconditionally. I never could picture his face, only the richness of his skin and the firmness of his hands. His voice seemed strong and reassuring…that’s all I knew. I used to wonder if I would meet him in high school (we’d share classes or something silly like that), like my mom and dad when they dated in high school. Or would I meet him in college, or while traveling the world?
I was just giggly thinking about my first encounter with my dream husband. My dad put a sour taste in my mouth when he said, “number one you won’t be getting married or having children until your mid-thirties, and number two your husband is gonna be just like me”. Oh gosh no…an anal-retentive, “is that ‘A’ work or ‘C’ work?” husband like my father…oh heck no…and there was no way on God’s green earth I would be waiting until my mid-thirties to be getting married and having kids. This man was crazy!
I contemplated going to a university in California for my undergrad studies or leaving the state and attending the University of Oklahoma (like my parents), Tennessee State University (like Oprah), Clark Atlanta University (a great mass communications school my friend Ericka and I discussed attending together), Texas Southern University (I can’t remember why I considered that school), or another school. Being in a journalism class, involving myself in community affairs, focusing on my growth and development, only reinforced these dreams and goals. My leadership skills throughout high school became more and more apparent; my desire to work within the community and to help others became a mission.
Coordinating political and social protests, using my position as editor of the school newspaper to highlight (and then blast on) the ignorance that was plaguing my community locally, regionally, and nationally irritated a lot of parents, teachers, and administrators. Forming the Los Angeles Recovery Helpers (LARH) immediately after the L.A. Riots in 1992 to provide food and clothing to those displaced and affected by the riots, began to reveal a side of myself my parents recognized when I was in 8th grade (but I didn’t notice until that moment). My true essence was shining through.
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO…
Fifteen years ago it was 1995 and I was in my second year of undergraduate studies at California State University, Long Beach. I never moved out of state, nor did I attend USC. I stopped dating guys from my high school my senior year- so there went that theory of meeting my future husband there. I can recall a few of my teachers that Spring semester at CSU Long Beach…Dr. Maulana Karenga (Black Studies 101) happened to be one of them…and a motivating force behind changes that I made in my dreams and goals. That semester I switched my major from English and a minor in Philosophy to Black Studies with a minor in Philosophy. I scrapped broadcast journalism (yes, I was going to be on television like Oprah Winfrey) as a major after the OJ Simpson trial began. The yellow journalism I saw on television, and in magazines and newspapers disgusted me and after speaking with a professor about my morals and ethics- I knew I could not “sell myself” to mainstream journalism.
It became clear to me that I would be a Civil Rights lawyer and teach Black Studies at local high schools. I was going to be a solution to the socio-economic problems within the Black community. I would help those who did not quite know how to help themselves. I would fight for those who didn’t know how to fight back. I would be the voice of the voiceless. I found my calling! I even began tutoring at Compton Community College through a partnership that my professor Dr. Amen Rahh had formed with students in his classes and CCC. Every Saturday I devoted several hours to tutoring students from elementary through college in several subjects. I loved it. I was also still heavily involved in my community service efforts working in both Santa Ana and Los Angeles with the underserved.
I was 19 years old and was living an exciting, yet stressful life trying to do way too much in a short period of time….but I enjoyed the adrenaline rush! I was in school, working as a personal fitness trainer (while I had another part-time job), partying, and enjoying the last of my teenage years. I was also dating this sexy football player from Chapman University at the time- he wanted to play in the NFL. Ah…we were in love. We were going to get a townhouse together in Corona or Chino Hills, California and conquer the world together. Yeah, that love lasted until November of 1995!
So what has happened since then? You have to check out tomorrow’s blog to find out!
© 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved.