Recently, a good friend of mine had to submit a project based on her future plans and it really got me thinking - what are mine? Growing up, we all have goals of what kind of jobs we want, where we want to go to school, the husbands or wives we yearn to have and at the time its exciting to think about the unknown. But what happens when the unknown becomes known, when the life we've always dreamed of becomes a reality, what comes next?

When I was little I always imagined how my life would be and I was so sure I'd have my shit together by the time was I twenty-three. I lived in a paper doll world growing up through high school. My biggest concern was if I had enough gas in my car and if I was going to get caught skipping 7th period Science Research so I could go to the beach with my friends after school. I never wanted to go off to college, heck I didn't even apply. I just figured I'd marry my high school sweet heart and I 'd become a nurse, however I didn't ever really think about the process until after graduation. Looking back it saddens me that I had such a naive expectation of my future, I envisioned that things would just happen and I've live happily ever after. Well - NEWS FLASH! As you can see that LIFE had other plans for me. And I'm perfectly at peace with that while still living happily ever after. 

After graduation, moving out, and a few months of partying in our first apartment, we tanned every waking moment by the pool, while slowly realizing that beauty & booze wasn't going to pay the rent. I enrolled into a nursing program at a local college and eventually met Jimmy through mutual friends. I finished all of my pre-reqs while he was deployed and as our relationship began to grow so did my goals. I now only half heartily believe that our good looks and booze would pay the rent. Progress right?

Things developed quickly between Jimmy and I. We dated less than a year before we got engaged. And even then we were only engaged for 24 hours. 💕 When you know, you know. When Jimmy and I got married we lived apart for almost a year so I could finish up the nursing program here in Florida but with news of him either transferring to another base or deploying again, I decided to take the gamble and leave my program to move to Arizona and wait and see where the Marine Corps would send my husband. Unfortunately it wasn't where I had hoped. Jimmy deployed for another six months and I worked really hard to get back into school and to work as much as I could for us. I met such amazing people through that short time and have made lasting friendships that I still cherish to this day.

When Jimmy came home it wasn't long until our lives changed one more and we found ourselves moving again. This time it was back to my home state. I remained in Arizona a month longer than Jimmy so I could finish out my classes and graduate with my general Associates degree and then I joined him and our pups back in Florida. We rented a house and began rebuilding the foundation to our new journey. It's so hard to believe that in November we've been back here for five years!

We have been so busy with life that it's almost painful to think about where all of the time has gone. But I am so proud to say that in those five years, I have graduated from nursing school with another Associates and in one semester I'll be graduating with my Bachelors. I'm even more proud to say that Jimmy will also be graduating next week with his Bachelors and has successfully enrolled in a Master's program set to start this fall. It has truly been a wild ride so far. To see the growth and development between who we were when we first met to the couple we've grown to be just brings so much emotion to my heart, I honestly can't even put it into words!

To be honest, its taken a really long time to feel comfortable in the place Jimmy & I have found ourselves and just up until recently I haven't really grasped the reigns of life tightly to really feel in control of whats going on. I feel like I've been going to school or moving around for so long, its been hard to actually concentrate on the act of "achieving the American Dream". We've just been chugging full steam ahead, its been extremely difficult to just stop and take it all in. Which got me thinking, what exactly is our American Dream? I've got to working these crazy shifts and paying this mortgage for something right? What do I want out of the next five years for Jimmy and I? And I've come to this conclusion:

I want experiences, unforgettable experiences. I want to live life through different perspectives, through different point of views. I want challenges that only push me to become better for myself and for my husband. I want to go to all points of the earth and find what this world has to offer me. I'd rather invest my time, money and soul into having genuine experiences than feeling stagnant in this repetitive cycle that most of us find ourselves in. Working to live, and living to work. I want to live the next five years without a plan. I want to feel alive and bathe in every moment that Jimmy and I have worked so hard in order to create. As our careers and education has grown, I feel like its become harder and harder to satisfy our soul's hunger. I'm constantly thinking that theres got to be more to life then this? Which is actually pretty ironic because we've worked tirelessly just to 'make it' this far.

Life so far has been a quest. There have been plenty of smiles, laughs and celebrations. I hope that the next five years brings just as much adventure and happiness since moving back to Florida. I hope it brings success and prosperity. And if it does bring sadness, I can only hope that we learn lessons from. I hope that it brings us a baby, maybe two and they're carbon copies of Jimmy & I. And I can only hope that these next five years continue to humble us and to make us thankful for all that we have.

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