My big defining moment of supposed greatness was when I was seven. I wrote my first ‘novel’ entitled The Haunted Mansion (an original, I assure you) while I was sick at home from school with a nasty case of tonsillitis. It was written entirely in sparkly blue gel pen and edited by my Mum, who even then was my number one fan.
It was, to my germ filled little brain, the most brilliant piece of literature I had ever read – and at seven I had already read the first two Harry Potter books so that’s saying something. I was so proud of my debut that the following Monday I took it to school and showed my teacher, Mrs. R, who proceeded to tell me what a great author I would be when I grew up.
So, naturally, ever since then all I’ve ever strived towards is being exactly that. An author. A writer. A journalist (when I finally figured out the hell they actually did). As long as it involved me putting pen to paper then I didn’t care.
And all it took was one little moment of praise for me to decide that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
So I read all the books and did all the classes. I analysed Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream being my favourite, obviously) and wrote so many essays that my hands were covered in more ink than skin. I moaned on about things that I thought gave me some depth (it didn’t) and stumbled haphazardly through experiences I hadn’t even had for myself yet. I did it all, and then some, just so I could tell everyone I knew what I wanted to do when I finished school. So I could tell everyoneI was different. I was sure.
What absolute and utter bullshit that was.
One year into a Bachelor of Journalism I dropped out. And then a year later I went on to fail my first year of my Writing and Publishing degree because I physically could not bring myself to attend the classes. I hated it. Like, made me want to slam my head against the desk until my brain bled, hated it.
Which absolutely baffled me. Wasn’t this what I wanted? What everyone said I was good at? What happened to the girl who wanted to have not only a degree in journalism but a full-time, glamorous editorial job by the time she was twenty one? Because I couldn’t seem to find her anymore. A disinterested, very confused Alex had pushed her off of her podium and taken her place instead. A miserable Alex who was watching all of her friends graduate and get jobs and wear those really, really classy pant suits that she’s always, always pictured herself in because they are educated working professionals.
But then, after a few months of shameful self loathing, I remembered one very important thing – I am only twenty one years old. TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD! The world is my oyster! Time is on my side! I remembered how many long, agonising years left I had in front of me and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t worried pant suits or careers or what everyone thought of me.
And I guess what I’m getting at in my very long winded, convoluted way, is that sometimes things don’t always go to plan as you grow older. No matter how much time and effort you spent trying to make it happen. Or how many people tell you that it’s right for you.
Because at the end of the day…your parents, your teachers, friends, your nosy neighbour Harold that really needs a hobby…they don’t always know whats right for you. I mean 99% of the time I don’t even know what’s right for me.
And I guess what I’m saying is that it’s okay.
It’s okay to not know what you want to do. Or how you want to make your mark. As long as you know you want too, somehow, someday. And while I’m not sure about a lot of things in my life, I know that I want to do something with it. And whether that be by writing or flying a rocket to the fucking moon, I’ve got time to figure it out.
And while I do figure it out, I’m going to be the best damn waitress the world has ever seen. Well maybe not the best waitress in the world. But a good one. A great one, even. I do make a mean soy decaf latte.
And even though decaf (ugh, I get shivers just thinking about it) goes against every fibre of my being, I’ll do it with a smile on my face. Because even though I know I don’t want to serve coffee for the rest of my life…I know it’s just phase one of the biggest, baddest adventure of all time.