1998, 2018, 2038

1998. I was a sophomore at Syracuse University. And if I had to guess what 19-year-old Nicole was doing on this very day, at this very time, exactly twenty years ago, here’s what I’d say. I was probably waking up in Watson Hall from my two-hour nap. I was strapping on my ridiculous, 6-inch, platform boots and layering sweaters under my big puffy coat before starting the frigid trek across campus to Astronomy class. I’d be scooting through the rows in the lecture hall to find my seat between Lauren (my BFF to this day) and Anthony (my crush). Anthony, are you reading this? Did you know I thought you were sooo cute? Well, I did. Anyway, Lauren and Anthony and I would ignore the entire lecture to collaborate on a crossword puzzle instead (college before cell phones). Then Lauren and I would shuffle through the snow, back to Watson Hall. We’d watch Dumb and Dumber (on VHS) or Days of Our Lives, drink Zima and laugh about last night at the bars. Then I’d take another nap, meet some friends in the dining hall and make plans to meet up on Marshall Street to test out my fake ID (name: Tia Schwartzmeuller) at another bar.

Life was good.

2018. Here I am. Twenty years later. No longer in love with Anthony or Dave or Chuck or Kyle or Matt or TC or this other guy whose name I can’t remember anymore but I really thought he was the one at some point in time. I’m 39, married (to the real one) with two fuckin-A kids and I’m really happy (most of the time – the rest of the time I’m just pretty happy with a mixture of annoyed or totally pissed off about something like fingerprints on the stainless steel fridge). I’ve spent 18 of the last 20 years getting to know the most interesting man in the world. He’s taught me to laugh (harder), let it go (occasionally), love (unconditionally) and ski. In 2018, we will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (probably) and I will turn 40 (which will still make me 4 years younger than Jason).

Life is good.

2038. Twenty years from now. I’ll be 59 and probably helping Grady (a doctor, by then) plan his wedding (to another doctor). I’ll be attending the Oscars with Annie Bea – applauding her as she accepts her award for the (youngest ever) Best Director and owes it all to me for letting her boss me around (direct me) all these years. Maybe I will have finally written a book. Maybe I’ll still be trying to write a book. Maybe I’ll be living in Miami. Maybe I’ll be living in Vancouver. Or New York. Or Idaho. Who the hell knows. Maybe I’ll have developed a singing voice and be touring with Justin Bieber (now 43). Because nothing over the past 20 years has gone as I planned, I’ve learned to stop planning (within reason).

No matter what, life will be good.

Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s see what happens.


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