Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, March 5

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steven / November 30, 2004 2:19 PM

still working towards owning my own home...

Sandy / November 30, 2004 2:21 PM

By 30? Clearly I would be married with children by now...

Andrew / November 30, 2004 2:24 PM

I thought I'd be a successful cartoonist. So much for that.

Alice / November 30, 2004 2:26 PM

Married, three kids, house in the suburbs. Of course, I also thought I'd be a cowgirl.

Maggie / November 30, 2004 2:32 PM

Married, three kids, lawyer/scientist/teacher/Oscar winner.

Suzanne / November 30, 2004 2:39 PM

I thought by the time I was thirty I would be a part-time veterinarian, a full-time astronaut and I would drive a Saab convertible. Three years until 30, wonder if I can make it?

Michael / November 30, 2004 2:40 PM

Married, three kids, home ownership (I'm batting 0 for 3 so far). Thanks for depressing me...I'm going to go get drunk now.

kj / November 30, 2004 2:42 PM

sadly, it's been far more difficult to earn a Ph.D. by the age of 25 than i had originally planned. i'll be finishing my master's at 23, but I'm still WAY behind schedule... dammit, doogie -- you ruined EVERYTHING for me!!!

Eamon / November 30, 2004 2:49 PM

I've never had a checklist of goals, but as a kid I figured I'd get a college degree, at the very least. That didn't happen, but I did end up with the world's best wife, so you can just keep yer book larnin'!

Cinnamon / November 30, 2004 3:15 PM

I think by 33 I expected to have put my veterinary career on hold so I could spend a few years as a Senator before becoming the youngest, and the first female, President when I turned 37.

But somehow I'm sure the 10-year-old me would be very impressed with the 33-year-old me despite my lack of political achievements.

j3s / November 30, 2004 3:25 PM

I figured I would have written a book by now (27); I did that, kinda.

From the time I learned how to write, I grew up saying I wanted to be a writer (OK, an "author," to be precise). Well...I make my living writing (software manuals, not novels or anything creative), and I still write poems quite regularly, so I guess I am satisfied.

Brian / November 30, 2004 3:47 PM

I always dreaded that when I turned thirty, I would like 10,000 Maniacs and Natalie Merchant. Not that her music was bad, I just assumed that being thirty meant liking 10,000 Maniacs.

Fortunately, I listened to them briefly at 26, and moved on.

Steve / November 30, 2004 3:55 PM

As a child who spent much of his time in a bedroom that mum decorated with an overbearing nautical theme, I always assumed that I would ultimately become a pirate. Sadly, I haven't.

Eamon / November 30, 2004 4:09 PM

Live the dream, Steve! LIVE THE DREAM!

karen / November 30, 2004 4:32 PM

i'm noticing a trend that we all thought we'd be married... i'm 24 & i definitely thought i'd at least know who i was going to marry... so i'm below par as well, but then again, i thought i'd be a ballerina, too.

miss ellen / November 30, 2004 4:40 PM

hmmmm, bought my lil' condo at 26, but still haven't gotten my saab convertible (suz, great minds think alike).

i don't think i ever thought i'd be married young, but have started noticing wedding rings more & more frequently and well, i just went a different path.

dang single-sex high school ed -- all about female independence ;)

vit / November 30, 2004 4:48 PM

When I was a kid I didn't think I'd still be in Chicago at this age (I had notions of being a writer and living in Europe) ... and I'm fairly certain I thought I'd own a car and a house too.

So far I'm zero for three. Thanks guys.

aj / November 30, 2004 4:49 PM

Growth. I thought I'd be taller. :)

Steve / November 30, 2004 4:51 PM

Flippin' sweet, Eamon. I just wish I still had my Pirates of the Caribbean pirate hat with glow-in-the-dark insignia from 1977.

I know, I could probably get one on eBay but it ain't the same....

Thurston / November 30, 2004 5:01 PM

As a kid I had similar ambitions as j3s. I too thought I would be a writer, or a screen writer. I too have become a technical writer, of reinsurance contracts, which doesn't really get my blood pumping (can you believe it?).

I have tried to write a book like I thought I would, but it lacks cohesion and is really a bunch of episodes in the life of a super-Thurston. I enjoy working on it though.

I have yet to marry a beautiful woman with a sexy accent. But watch out, Penelope Cruz.

em / November 30, 2004 6:27 PM

As a kid I was led to believe that by now I would have traveled the world with my own personal jetpack.

Shylo / November 30, 2004 7:31 PM

I can't be the only one who thought I'd be dead by now. Or in rehab. Or in an asylum. Right?

Alex / November 30, 2004 8:50 PM

I thought I'd be a ground-breaking world-famous psychologist who was childless and drove a Volvo...

Um, I do drive a Volvo.

Leah / November 30, 2004 10:53 PM

I definitely must have thought married. But also well on my way to being the first female conductor of a major symphony orchestra.

Turns out I hated practicing and now I manage an ice cream parlor.

And I'm single with a cat. But I knew I'd have the cat.

Brandy / December 1, 2004 12:41 AM

I had no expectations and I've exceeded them.

mike / December 1, 2004 1:17 AM

I wanted to the be the world's first time traveling archeologist/ paleontologist, which really, now that I think about it, defeats the purpose.

Fern / December 1, 2004 8:35 AM

I have b/g own home and a partner whom I adore....all I need now is a job I can stomach and I'll be good.Lived in France 2 years...travelled around the world twice...Ja sem isla u Vukuvaru..(well that part I coulda done without)Still no degree though. 3/4 a degree in Geography from UW-Madison.oooo thats useful.

paul / December 1, 2004 8:51 AM

When I was a kid, 2001 was far in the future, and I thought I'd be making video-telephone calls from the moon. I haven't even made a video-telephone call from anywhere yet.

Anthony / December 1, 2004 9:05 AM

I thought that I'd have my own office, my own Volvo, and my own staff. Maybe some nice duds. Of course I never thought about what I would do to achieve all of these things. I guess I assumed that would shake out in the meantime. Ha! I've never been a good planner; only a good dreamer.

Mike / December 1, 2004 9:08 AM

I thought at the age of 14 that within a decade I would be on my way to becoming a sort of modern countercultural renesseince man. When I wouldn't be leading crowds of hundreds of thousands to Washington demanding a complete overhaul of the government, I'd be playing in my complex yet totally rockin' band (single-handedly inventing new genres of music) and working on my third or fourth novel that people wouldn't understand at first but would eventually come to be known as the "turning point" in American literature.
These things have not happened yet. I've also realized that there's such a thing as setting the bar high, and then there's setting it in outer space. At least I can say there still is a bar. A lot of people have long taken the bar down and just watch TV and drink every night.

Anthony / December 1, 2004 9:17 AM

Question: Where did these childhood images of older selves germinate?

jenny / December 1, 2004 9:51 AM


For me, a combination of too many Disney movies, Sweet Valley Twins, and PowerMom 80's movies, and too many Cosmo magazines.

Of course, all that made me insist, as a kid, I'd be single with a cat in a solar-efficient house on the coast of Maine.

robin.. / December 1, 2004 9:51 AM

anthony: i don't know. good question. i feel like i modeled my parents in a lot of ways, but the model they set was that i could do whatever i wanted, and that nothing was proscribed, so that's kind of a nothing answer...

i know i had childhood images of my big-girl self, but right now, i feel like i scraped them and just started letting things happen without a plan. when i was 11-15 i wanted to be a stand-up comedienne; when i was in the 8th grade (up through my freshman year in college) i was certain i'd go into genetics research; in college i was a biology major, like i'd thought i would be since age 12; senior year i realized i had let my chance at an ethnomusicology major slip by. (one thing i never thought about/made plans for, even when i was in a steady hetero sitch: getting married, having kids.) now i work in publishing, i live in the city, and i'm looking at library science. i wait for things to light me up, and then i do what i can.

it's equally illuminating, i think, to look at things i never dreamed would happen, or just things that weren't on the schedule when i was picturing adulthood: so many roadtrips, so much rock, vital politics, having (instead of thinking about and fearing) my queer life, being urban, being on social aid, being a physical dissident, having this job. with the possible exception of queerness, none of these things were part of my dreams. they just happened. i think about that a lot.

robin.. / December 1, 2004 9:53 AM

uh, scrapped, not "scraped." mea culpa.

Toni / December 1, 2004 10:20 AM

I'd be tenured at some East Coast university OR I'd have my own talk show.

josh / December 1, 2004 10:31 AM

Cheers Shylo. I too never expected to make it this far and am deeply suprised by how a life can twist and tumble and turn out on the other side pretty okay. It doesn't really feel like it, but i guess that means i've exceeded my expectations...

Naz / December 1, 2004 11:35 AM

The last year of high school, a bunch of us had a roundtable discussion about when we all thought we'd get married. Some said no, some said 40, some said 20. I said 25. I was 15 at the time. I'm about to turn 27. And it's nowhere on the map.

In the meantime, life sort of just happened for me - never really planned what I wanted to be or do but somehow I feel fortunate and goshdarnit, *blessed* almost to be doing what I'm doing and living the life I am.

Odd how that works. But I'm grateful for it.

Ann / December 1, 2004 11:45 AM

Yeah, Shylo, you're not the only one. I thought I'd experience my own beautiful but tragic death by 30. Because of this, I haven't accomplished nearly as much as I would have liked.

Cinnamon / December 1, 2004 11:47 AM

Shylo, you're not alone. While I was dreaming all kinds of crazy lives I could have, I was convinced I'd never be able to go to college, take an airplane to go on a vacation, stick my feet in an ocean, etc. I honestly expected my life to be much like that of Jennifer Anniston's in The Good Girl.

Shasta MacNasty / December 1, 2004 12:25 PM

Honestly? I didn't think I'd live this long.

waleeta / December 1, 2004 12:25 PM

I thought I'd be single, living on my own in DC getting a Masters, only a few years away from becoming the first female President.

And here I am. But DC sucks and I miss Chicago.

kate / December 1, 2004 12:28 PM

When I was, say, 10 I honestly didn't think I would live to be 25. Not that I thought I would die, it's just so hard for me to think about the future that I didn't really think about living at 25. If I really forced myself however I thought 2 things for sure:

- I didn't want to go to college because I wanted to learn it all for myself.

- I didn't want to get married because I thought after a few years it was like incest.

Other than that I thought I might be traveling around the world, calling no place home, and spending most of my time wading chest high through jungle swamps as a National Geographic photographer.

So far I've managed to narrowly escape a college degree, ward off all potential suitors, and hey, my lease is up in july...who knows what could happen!

Ted / December 1, 2004 12:34 PM

My goal was to publish my first book by the age of 30. It took a little longer. It's coming out next May, when I'll be 38. Keep scribbling, everyone. It'll happen, and when it does, it'll be worth all the rejections and all the abandoned manuscripts.

(Also, it helps not to have any OTHER goals in life, but that's true of endeavor.)

lacey / December 1, 2004 3:56 PM

I thought that I would be a high-powered art director in a big city wearing Armani suits everyday. Husband/kids would just be garnish. Also, if I had a husband, I would be the breadwinner and he would be the househusband. Yep. Coooooooolllddd...

Roni / December 1, 2004 4:02 PM

I never thought I'd be since I am, guess that exceeds expectations? But I also fall into the 'thought I'd be vacationing on the moon' camp. Let's see...when I was 10, I guess I figured I'm be in astronaut training. In high school I thought I'd be in DC being lil miss activist or President-in-training. OK, so I'm lil miss activist, just not in DC. Dang Chicago won't let me leave!

jen / December 1, 2004 4:02 PM

believe it or not, at the ripe age of 13, i already knew that i didn't want children nor did i want to get married (at least in the traditional sense). then, in high school, i thought i'd be married by 22. funny how insightful i was just 5 years earlier because i'm still adhering to those original expectations.

however, i do remember not wanting to work in an office, but somehow, i got sucked into a cube farm post-college. hrmph.

and, damnit, where's my flying car?

Tommy / December 1, 2004 4:20 PM

Shasta MacNasty, I second that comment. I have been hit by a car on my bike, been in a automobile head-on collision, rolled a car on the highway, done my share of recreational drugs and been in a hurricane. I'm still looking forward to tomorrow.

mojo jojoba / December 1, 2004 4:55 PM

I thought I'd be happily married.
I was half right (I just hope my wife doesn't read this).

poopers / December 1, 2004 6:05 PM

I thought I'd be happy.

Michael / December 1, 2004 6:18 PM

Lacey -

If you ever land that job as a high-powered art director, I would like to apply for the position of househusband.

elly / December 1, 2004 6:19 PM

when i was 5 i figured i'd be a world famous punk rock star (and married to crush). i'm neither, but happy. plus, karaoke fills the void that pat benetar's legacy left.

now, when i grow up i want to be a playgirl wearing wide brimmed black hats and dark sunglasses, sipping cocktails on cruise ships, and having wonderful love affairs around the world.

Mike / December 2, 2004 1:30 AM

How do you think your 13 year old self would view you today?

Would he/she want to kick your ass, look up to you, borrow money from you, or make fun of your incessant ways to remain "cool" as you age....

Steve / December 2, 2004 9:08 AM

My 13-year-old self would probably say "Jeez, you still listen to Talk Talk 21 years later?" And I'd remind him that it's my life. Or our life. Or something.

He'd also be pissed that all of my albums are now gathering dust in storage.

Leo / December 2, 2004 9:37 AM

I would be a zoologist studying animal behavior in Kenya. Maybe even have a pretty zoologist wife with a long braid.

Lisa / December 4, 2004 4:36 PM

I would have been an Olympic gold medalist in swimming. DUH!

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