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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Think back to when you were 15 and how you thought you'd be when you 'grow up' - are you that person?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38963points) May 1st, 2009

When I was 15, I wanted to be that hip college kid sitting at the NYU fountain reading poetry during college, then someone doing dissections in medical school, someone having kids after 30, etc….though I went to NYU and did hang sometimes around the fountain, I was never that kind of an NYU kid…and I didn’t go to med school and I had kids young…but I think I am the person I wanted to be in that I am still in many ways the same, eager to learn, committed to fairness and in many ways, I’m still so very much of an idealist

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45 Answers

jca's avatar

i thought i’d be married, a few kids, living in a house, working at some career. i knew i would have gone to college – in my family that was a given. i have one child, not married, do live in a house, have a job/career that i didn’t plan on having,although it is a good job. so it’s more not what i envisioned that what i did envision.

Facade's avatar

For the most part, I’m who I thought I’d be. There are a few exceptions. But I’m working on me :)

chyna's avatar

No it isn’t. Who says at 15 “I want to grow up to be an auditor?”

Bluefreedom's avatar

When I was 15 and in high school, I was in the ROTC program and thought that I’d like to have either a career in the military, become a commerical airline pilot, or work in law enforcement. The flying thing didn’t work out unfortunately but I have been in the military (specifically military police) for 21 years now so yes, I am essentially the person I wanted to be from the considerations I had at 15 years old because I followed through with two of the three things that I wanted to become.

There have been some setbacks and bumps in the road along the way but I’m very fortunate and thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had in my life and I’m more satisfied than not with how things have turned out. Life is a continual learning experience and I’m always a work in progress so the final outcome will never be crystal clear but I’m not complaining.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I’m much worse than I’d always planned to be. But my plans were also based on a false perception of reality.. so I give myself a mulligan. xD

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Nothing at all how I thought I would be. At 15, I pretty much only thought of basic stereotypes. Like that I’d be married and have kids by now, which literally makes me laugh out loud. I am in no way ready to be married or have kids. It’s amazing how much older ages seem when you’re younger.

marmoset's avatar

Professional life is actually almost exactly what I hoped; personal life is nothing like I ever would have imagined!

chyna's avatar

@marmoset Is it better or worse than you ever would have imagined?

Jeruba's avatar

No. At 15, I was going to be a renowned author and respected poet, teach English to avid students, and have an utterly dreamy and brilliantly intellectual man passionately in love with me, and also have seven children with romantic names like Rebecca and Gareth, and visit India and Egypt and Germany and Scotland and England, and live in Boston and have better hair and complexion and not be skinny.

Got that last one right.

chyna's avatar

@Jeruba Great dreams though!

Likeradar's avatar

Nope, not at all. I thought at almost 29 I would be livin’ up the single life in some big city, going out and doing trendy things and living a crazy life. OR I thought I’d be married, barefoot, and pregnant. I could have gone either way… and I am doing neither. And I am happy. :)

SeventhSense's avatar

No, absolutely nothing happened as I planned or imagined, Yet I know now that I experience what I felt at the deepest level. Reminds me of a wise old quote- “I have had a very difficult life 90% of which never happened”. Thank God not all of our thoughts and fears are manifest.

seekingwolf's avatar

Well, 4 years ago, I wasn’t that independent. I did my schoolwork but I didn’t drive or do anything special. I wanted to be a doctor but I was fearful of how I would do in college and being independent. I was in love with a man over twice my age (I know, I was too young) and I thought we would be together forever.

My heart was broken, Reality slapped me in the face, I gained weight and got PCOS, my face grew longer, and I realized that life is grey, not black/white, and ambiguity is everywhere.

I’m better off now. :)

casheroo's avatar

I thought I might have a stable job, but everything else is exactly where I want it. I wanted children and a family young, and I have that. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
At 15 though, I still wanted to go to college, I guess I would be graduated by this age (22)

Darwin's avatar

When I was 15 I was convinced I would never have children. I didn’t ever successfully give birth to children but I adopted two babies and am up to my eyebrows in raising them, so I guess I am not the same person.

However, I still love to read, love to paint and draw, love animals, and love nature, so in many ways I am the same person, only fatter.

I certainly look the same – no drastic changes in hair styles or even clothing styles.

justwannaknow's avatar

Yes , actually I am. I wanted a military career (retired Major), own my house in the country (I do), have someone to spend the rest of my life with, (happily married) Have children ( proud of them too) and be retired by age 50. (retired at 49) Can’t complain.

gimmedat's avatar

I never really planned out my life. I can say I knew I would be a teacher from young (which I am), but other than that I’ve really been flying by the seat of my pants. Things are good, though, so I’m straight.

ru2bz46's avatar

At 15, I was in my high school computer lab with Apple II+ and TRS-80 computers thinking I would be a software developer. Then I realized that computers in the 80’s pretty much sucked donkey balls, so I set off on a couple different careers (even as a jeweler) after graduation. I’ve been a software developer for the last ten years. Fate has a way of making it all work out in the end.

knitfroggy's avatar

I was never going to get married or have kids-I did both. I wanted to be a Broadway Superstar-I work retail. I also wanted at one point to be an elementary music teacher, but I dropped out of college. That said, I’m not doing what I thought I wanted to do, but I’m happy, which is good, because I had really unrealistic dreams! :)

Jeruba's avatar

@justwannaknow, I’m impressed. They always say you have to know what you want in order to go after it, but the truth is that even if we go after it most of us don’t get it. You did. Congratulations.

augustlan's avatar

At 15, I was just starting to enjoy my life finally and really had very few plans for the rest of it. I had some vague notions: I’d always be a city girl (I’m not), wouldn’t marry young (got married at 19), wouldn’t have kids young (managed that one), and I’d always be creative (I am, but I don’t make a living at it). The thing I was most wrong about though was I thought I’d be long dead by now. Due to a very difficult childhood and many health problems, I thought I’d die by my early 30s. I’m now 41 years old, and quite happy I was wrong!

benjaminlevi's avatar

At 15 I wanted to be someone who knew what they wanted to do with their life. I still don’t know

frdelrosario's avatar

I wish I could talk to that 15-year-old, but he was so sure he knew everything that he wouldn’t listen to me. Really a shame, because he wasted a lot of time for being so sure he knew everything already.

Bonnie's avatar

I’m 15 years old now :) and i don’t have a clue what I would like to do with my life.Aslong as I’m happy and so are my friends and family,it’s all gooooood!

Triiiple's avatar

When i was 15 i didnt take school serious, 15yrs old was actually the age i moved out of my moms house in New York City and moved to Miami, FL.

When i was 15 i had a sense of being in college only from what ive seen in movies and stuff. Now that im in college its nothing like i really imagined and i wish i would have paid more attention to what i was doing back then.

bythebay's avatar

At 15, I didn’t have a care in the world and my future seemed too far away to even consider. I think in the back of my mind I always knew that college was in the plans, I was just so sure that it would point me in the right direction. College gave a great foundation and work ethic, but I’m not a world renowned psychiatry expert! My “list” from my junior year in college says: “Marry by 25; have a successful career/my own practice; have 2 boys by 29 (as if I could determine that!); house at the ocean; keep all my amazing friends.”

I didn’t marry until 28 (but he was worth the wait!); my “career” was derailed voluntarily to have my 2 kids (a boy & girl); I do live on the water and have maintained wonderful friendships with those amazing friends. All in all, I think I’m exactly who I’m supposed to be.

Jack79's avatar

When I was 15 I dreamt I would be a rock star by 25 (and probably dead by 35, like the story goes). I came pretty close to both. I had a very successful singing career which turned out a lot different from what I expected, but was very exciting and enjoyable nonetheless (and never really reached its peak until I was 26+). Now, at 37, I’ve already settled down, packed and left again, got married and divorced, and came close to death a couple of times, but above all had to help my daughter survive her own troubles. I’m a dad.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Not even close! I had such high hopes for myself, and none of it turned out as I expected. They were such unrealistic pipe dreams. Life has a way of doing that, but you know, somehow its’ better than I could have imagined. I have a woman that loves me for who I am, a good crop of close friends, and a house that while modest, is all mine. I have no mortgage to worry about. I also have a dog that loves me more than she loves herself. What more could a man wish for?

nikipedia's avatar

I’m with @bythebay—I had no real conception of what the future looked like. A couple things have been surprises. Fifteen-year-old nikipedia would probably be shocked that I turned out to be a scientist, pleased that I am still pretty much a bleeding-heart vegetarian who uses canvas grocery bags, and confused that I took up running.

Also, I figured I’d have bigger boobs by 24. I was right about that one.

tabbycat's avatar

No way! I did not end up having some of the opportunities that I was sure that I’d have in live when I was fifteen, but I’ve had other opportunities that I never would have dreamed I’d have. What is the quote from Isak Dinesen? ‘God made the world round so we wouldn’t be able to see so far down the line.’ It’s something like that—and so true.

At fifteen or thirty-five or sixty, all we can do is work in directions that interest us. Who can tell what opportunities will be presented to us? We can’t be so rigid in our ideas of what our life should be that we’re not ready to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. And we can’t waste time crying over the opportunities that DIDN’T present themselves.

marmoset's avatar

@chyna—it is just way different (it is wonderful but I don’t want to make a value judgment :)).

SeventhSense's avatar

@tabbycat
Thanks for giving me a little motivation, :)

cyndyh's avatar

@tabbycat: ...or the opportunities we let slide by because we didn’t recognize them.

@All: Things are so much better than I ever imagined they would or could be. It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t realistic at 15. It was more that I didn’t have an idea of all the wide open choices there’d be or how big freedom is. It’s like you’re expected to make all these big choices before you get to see even a small fraction of what’s possible.

On that I’ll say this. Learning is not wasted. If you pick a path and work hard at it and then later on you find something that moves you so much more there’s still time to change your path. All that stuff you learned while you were working your way along the other path may still be useful to you in other ways later on, even if you don’t see how that can be yet. If nothing else, all that prior work taught you how to work hard at something and believe in your abilities and adaptability.

tabbycat's avatar

@cyndyh – Excellent answer. I am always amused by young people who complain about required classes, saying emphatically, “I’ll never use that!” The world takes amazing twists and turns, and you never know what knowledge you’re going to need. I agree that learning is never wasted—which is one more reason we should be lifelong learners.

And wouldn’t life be boring if we knew exactly what knowledge we were and weren’t going to need at fifteen?

SeventhSense's avatar

@tabbycat
I agree that learning is never wasted
You can have my 58,000 student loan then because I have no use for it. I wish I had bought a house instead but I got some pretty pieces of paper.

cyndyh's avatar

@tabbycat: “And wouldn’t life be boring if we knew exactly what knowledge we were and weren’t going to need at fifteen?”

True that!

preggers's avatar

I thought I would feel a lot more grown-up at this age. I’m about to become a mother and I still feel like a kid.

Strauss's avatar

When I was 15 (1964) I was in a seminary, and hoping for a life in a religious community. I was idealistic about civil rights, and was hopeful that I could be either a foreign or domestic missionary.

Now, I am a father, have a career that has nothing to do with religion or spirituality. I am not the person I visualized 45 years ago, but I think I am far better at being who I am than who I wanted to be.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Nooo. I assumed I would get a college degree, marry my college sweetheart, and have babies and maybe a career. In college, I changed my major 3x and dropped out after the 3rd year. No college sweetheart to marry.

After reading all of the posts and from personal experience, some advice would be to expose yourself to as many things that interest you as possible. A friend was always interested in the funeral business, so she made arrangements with a local business to do a very informal internship.

Focus on what it is you really like to do and not necessarily what you are good at. There are things that we can all do well, but it doesn’t mean we enjoy doing them, much less making a career out of it.

CherrySempai's avatar

I’m very interested in reading how your lives have changed since 15. =]

15 was only 4 years ago for me, and I’m exactly who I thought I would be (and wanted to be!), except I’m more social. I thought I would still be shy in college, but somehow I lost a lot of inhibitions in those 4 years, and I am loving life more than I thought I could. :]

CMaz's avatar

The core person is still there.

I am better and stronger then that person.

Ron_C's avatar

I’m a little fatter than I thought I would be but I joined the Navy, have a career in electronics, I’m no longer afraid of public speaking, married the girl that I met when I was 16, and have kids and grandchildren of my own.

Actually, I exceeded my expectations. I figured that I’d never make it past 50.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I was an odd kid.
I wanted to be married, have my own place and do what I wanted to do.

I’m married.

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