Sometimes I look at myself and my life and thoughtlessly compare it to other people's. Like that girl I know who is a marine biologist. Or that couple that just spent 2 weeks in Thailand after their lavish wedding ceremony. Or my successful graphic designer cousin who is in her early 20s and just bought a house with her boyfriend who is a doctor (fairy tale much?). Up until a little over a year ago, I was still living in an icy cement block of an apartment where the windows were drafty and getting hot water in the morning was a matter of luck and timing, never a guarantee.
Then I think of my parents, who suffered a devastating blow after my father was crippled in a motorcycle accident 27 years ago. Talk about not being where you thought you'd be: in a hospital bed smoking what you thought was your last cigarette, working at a shoe store in the mall and suddenly being (essentially) a single mom trying to pay for a house. I think of another lady I know, who ended up being a single mom to three children because her ex husband was too much of a crap sack to stay with. I think of and old friend whom I haven't spoken to in a decade, and wonder if her cancer ever came back a third time, I wonder if she's still around.
There are so many different circumstances you can find yourself in, and things can change gradually over time, or suddenly one rainy night. You can always find a new circumstance though, a new path. My mother went to night school so she could get a better job (which she got, fyi). My father, after a year and a half of learning to walk again, learned how to program computers when he could no longer be a mechanic (due to crip-walking.heh.) The lady who was the single mom ended up running 3 mad-successful businesses SIMULTANEOUSLY and still seems to find new opportunities every day (I'm not kidding you, this woman is my business-hero). When you find yourself saying "I'm not where I thought I'd be", you can remind yourself that no one is. At one point I thought I'd be teaching English somewhere in Asia, I thought I was going to be a speech pathologist, I thought I was going to work at an insurance company forever, I thought I'd always be alone, I thought I'd always be childless. I am, however, none of those things. If you dont' like where you are at the present, you can always make a new choice, find a different path to walk on. You might end up somewhere better than you thought you'd be.