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August 17, 2008 - 6:22 p.m.

Ten years ago? Twenty years ago?

The Pioneer Woman asked her readers how their goals and dreams differ from 10 and 20 years ago. This is an interesting question for me because I think I gave up on long-term goals long ago. I cannot figure out if this is good or bad. I'm trying to live in the short-term, if not necessarily the present, more than in the past or the future. However, it makes answering such questions a little painful.

Ten years ago I was getting ready to go to Spain after royally screwing up my opportunity to study abroad in Prague. When that fell through, I made my own opportunity. I went off by myself to a foreign country where I didn't speak the language, and I survived. I even came to enjoy myself, although spending my 20th birthday only a few short weeks after my arrival with an Icelander, a nutty Dutch girl, and a pretty cool Californian wasn't exactly my idea of a smashing good time. We ate omelets and drank wine. Woo hoo.

I still thought I would finish school with a degree in International Relations. This is before my first clear bout with depression really set in and before I gave up on IR as a direction in life. I figured I'd finish school, go work for some company, travel, and that would be that. It would only take two more semesters of school to realize that probably wasn't going to happen.

Twenty years ago, my mother was dying of cancer. About this time of year, we probably would have been on our last great family trip to California. I have some great memories of that trip. I had no idea that in a few short months, my life would change irrevocably in some ways. I figured I would go to school in my school district, graduate from high school with my elementary school friends, and go off to college. Today, I don't know where any of those elementary school friends are. I barely know where any of my high school friends are, save for those on Facebook. What goals in life can a 10 year old have? Probably the one that was most important, to grow up with two parents, was shattered by that December.

So here I sit, on the precipice of 30, well-educated despite what would transpire within the years after my Spain trip. Unfortunately, I have no job in my chosen field, and I have several things that are going to make it difficult for me to get a job. I am a little depressed. My goal had been to work in a library for a few years and figure out how to work for myself. Now I'm thinking my goal needs to be winning the lottery, although that's a really crappy and likely unattainable goal to have. I need to work on those things that will prevent me from getting a job, although one of them in particular is going to be incredibly painful to attack.

So I head off into my fourth decade of life soon, facing yet another period of uncertainty. I'm tired of this shit.

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