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Aprill Brandon column: A funny thing happened on the way down memory lane

By ABRANDON@VICAD.COM
Nov. 3, 2010 at 6:03 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2010 at 6:04 a.m.


BY APRILL BRANDON

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Like in so many other aspects of my life, I'm just a couple of years behind (my computer should be Y2K compliant any day now).

Apparently, by the time you turn 25 in this society, you are suppose to have some sort of mid-20's crisis where you question who you are and where your life is going (much like a mid-life crisis only with less Rogaine involved). I watched various friends of mine go through it four years ago as they called me to bemoan "What is the meaning of it all, man?" (Alas, my standard response of "happy hour" did little to make them feel better.)

It's only natural they felt this way. In a world where tweens get famous overnight from a YouTube video and 19-year-olds are becoming billionaires by inventing social networking sites, the bar for being young and successful has significantly been raised.

But I was too busy making non-award-winning musicals based on the chupacabra and avoiding planning my wedding to really pay attention to where my life was going.

And then, BOOM. Suddenly, I was 29. Still at the same job. Still making the same amount of pay (re: peanuts). Still not a published author. Still not ready to start a family. Still 10 pounds above my ideal weight. Still, well, in the same place I was roughly five years ago.

My crisis had begun.

Luckily, before I got too deep into the self-wallowing phase (three bottles of wine and five gallons of Chunky Monkey ... mixed together), divine intervention stepped in under the guise of my mother.

On a recent visit back home, in an embarrassingly mushy display of motherly affection, she dumped a bunch of huge boxes at my feet and declared "Here's 20 years worth of your crap." With room growing short in the attic, my instructions were to get rid of 95 percent of it.

This was no easy task, mind you. After about two hours, it became painfully clear that I have never, EVER thrown anything away in my life.

Ever.

For example, among the treasures I unearthed:

A carrying case full of cassette tapes, including Milli Vanilli (oh shut up, they were totally popular at one time).

A huge buck knife given to me by an ex-boyfriend.

A letter by another ex-boyfriend written while he served 30 days in jail (admittedly I went through a bad boy phase that lasted, oh, approximately seven years ... this may or may not have anything to do with the fact my mom prematurely went gray).

The seventh-place ribbon I won in track (apparently "seventh place" seemed less cruel than "last place").

A daily planner from high school where on March 13 I wrote "Copy Misty's Spanish homework."

A junior high note to my best friend that ended with the phrase (I kid you not) "stay cool but don't freeze."

The story I wrote in fourth grade in which I totally rip off not only "The Secret Garden" but also "Anne of Green Gables."

My first pathetic attempt at writing a novel, which featured a protagonist cleverly disguised by the name "Amie Branson."

As I waded my way through my past, remembering who I was back then, it suddenly hit me. Past Aprill would love to be where Now Aprill is. Back then, all I dreamed about was being a writer (and boys).

And now I am a writer (and married to a totally cute boy).

Better yet, I'm a columnist, just like my idol Dave Barry. I may not have a lot of money, but more than I've ever had before in my life. And while I am not delusional enough to believe I will write the next Great American Novel, I still think I have a shot at penning the next Mediocre American Novel.

Too often we get sucked into this idea that whatever we have, whatever we are, isn't good enough. And sadly, this nagging voice in our heads makes us miss the fact that, more often than not, we are right where we always wanted to be.

It just goes to show you. Sometimes we have to look back to realize how far we've come.

Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. That last paragraph should be read with cheesy "lesson learned" 80's sitcom music playing in your head.

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