Have you ever seen How I Met Your Mother? It’s one of my favorite shows and recently I’ve gotten Madic into watching. Every once in awhile I sit on our floor with him and catch a few episodes on the computer. The latest one we watched was Doppelgangers. In the last scene Ted tells Robin that eventually we all become our own doppelganger; we are completely different people who just happen to look like us. Ted makes a comparison of their characters five years earlier. Maybe it was the sangria thinking, or maybe it was the nostalgia from an earlier conversation with my mother, but I started to think about how I was my own doppelganger.
Five years ago I had just graduated from high school. I was dating a boy I was convinced was the love of my life and just months from an engagement. I had decided to defer my college acceptance for a year to work a little and travel to the Dominican Republic to volunteer. I had my life completely planned out in front of me. Although I cannot remember my exact plans, I know they never involved me moving to Austin with Madic, signing a one year lease on an apartment we couldn’t afford to furnish. But here I am; sitting on the floor of an empty living room drinking gifted sangria and watching How I Met Your Mother with my best friend.
A number of things have changed since July 2006. The Boy and I went through a tumultuous breakup the likes I could have never imagined. I never finished college. I lived in London and Denmark. I fell in love with a frat boy from Maryland and then chose my own life path instead of following him. I moved back in with my parents. I picked up and moved to Texas without any plan, without any job… just following a dream.
Ted tells Robin that five years ago she was great, but her “doppelganger”, the Robin of now, was the greatest friend and most amazing person he’d ever met. How do I feel about my doppelganger? I am overflowing with pride. Sure, my life hasn’t turned out anything like I planned when I was eighteen. Of course I wanted to get a degree. Of course I had dreamed of marrying The Boy and starting a family. But I am so proud of where I am now. I’ve taken chances, I’ve gone on adventure after adventure, I have lived. And I’m nowhere close to being finished.
Maybe I’m a little nervous and occasionally frustrated about my job hunt and not really knowing anyone other than Madic. Maybe every once in awhile I question my decision and miss home, my family, my friends. But I love this city. I’m excited about my job prospects. I have been blessed in finding an amazing community of young, Catholic professionals. I am meeting new friends every day. I have also grown a considerable amount in the last five years. I am stronger, more independent, more mature, more grounded. I have had my heart broken, I’ve made compromises and mistakes, I’ve had regrets. But I have learned from it all.
This doppelganger, this version of Annie five years later, she is the girl – the woman – I’ve always wanted to be. I just had to grow up to figure it out. And you know what? I’m excited to find out who Annie will be five years from now, but I will not be at all surprised if she is nothing like me.