Thursday, March 10, 2011

"I would have given anything to be like..."

The writing and book blog YA Highway has a cool little thing going on. For the promotion of one of the contributing author's books, they posted the question "I would have given anything to be like..." asking readers to fill in what they wished they were like as a teenager. The book, called Like Mandarin, is about a 14-year-old who looks up to an older girl named Mandarin, who seems to be the very essence of cool.

Thinking about this question for myself, I don't remember necessarily wanting to be a specific person. One fleeting thought I had was admiring a group of girls I met at summer church camp. They were beautiful, dated beautiful (older) guys, and they were homeschooled. All of it was so foreign from my own life, I guess it seemed exciting. In those days, we wrote actual letters to each other (I know, right?) and later, some emails, although we lost touch.

But, what I remember daydreaming about the most, was moving to New York City. I wanted to be an artist or a designer in some capacity, living an exciting life in NYC. Everything about big city life seemed alluring; all of the culture so close by, like museums and concert venues, all of the different restaurants and shopping, taking the subway to different neighborhoods. I have always been into maps and feel the need to know where a place is situated in relation to everything else, so I would literally study the Manhattan page of our atlas, marveling at how large Central Park was, and how many little teeny streets branched off from each other.

I never ended up moving to New York, although I've visited, and nothing can quite compare to the view of the city from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I did, however, move to Chicago and had a little run at city life in my trendy little neighborhood. I commuted daily to my job downtown just off of Michigan Ave. In the end, it was not for me, but it could have been more due to living alone, which I hated, and the terrible, demeaning company I worked for. But for a short time, I made that city girl dream a reality, and I'm proud of that.


  1. it's interesting to compare how we projected our future selves with how we turned out! (also, Chicago is fantastic.)

  2. Ah yes, the city life. I enjoyed my one time trip to New York. I loved it, but I realized soon after, that I'm much more suited to a life in the woods.

    PS I love Star Wars too.

  3. Thanks for the comments! And congrats on the book, Kirsten.

  4. Hey, I'm a Chicagoan! (Actually I'm away for the year but I'll be back in the fall.) Small world. I lived in NYC for a short time and hated it but I love Chicago with a fierce love. Your comment about studying Manhattan maps reminds me of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Hooray for making dreams come true!


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