Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Glimpse at What Might Have Been

Last week, I went to take the CFP® test. This test was the pinnacle of what I have been working towards for the last year and a half, and the beginning of a career I never expected to have.

But, as I have learned, life doesn’t always turn out how you think it will.

On the morning of the test, I headed out the garage door, bag on my shoulder, preparing to leave for San Jose. Have you ever had one of those moments that feel like a scene in a movie? Like an out of body experience or some kind of slow-motion sequence?

This is what happened to me that morning. Sweatshirt over my arm, keys in my hand, butterflies in my stomach, I walked into the garage and towards my car. The garage door was open and the street was quiet, except for the rattling of four wheels and what can only be described as babbling. I paused in mid-step and looked up only to see myself. Well not me, actually, but what I might have been.

In front of me was a girl my age wearing a sweatsuit, hair tossed up in a messy ponytail. She was pushing a stroller down the sidewalk in front of my house. Inside was a baby of about one year. For a minute, it felt like time stood still. I stared at her, and she looked at me.

I don’t know what she was thinking (probably: why is this lady staring at me?), but I was thinking that she was who I was going to be. Ten, even twenty, years ago if you had asked me to describe who I’d be at 28, I would have described this woman pushing her child in a stroller. I would not have described the woman, bag over her shoulder, career in the making, staring at her.

It felt like an eternity, but soon she was gone. I opened the trunk and put my bag inside. I got in the car and put the key in the ignition. I waited for the tears, but they never came. Perhaps I’m not completely hollow after all. Perhaps there’s a part of my heart that is empty, but another part that is okay with who I am and where I am at.

And perhaps, someday, I’ll be pushing my baby down the street and realize I actually recognize myself after all.

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