DLand - Caution - Where Do You Want To Go Today?

I'm 24. Almost 25. My birthday is in a month. What was your life like at that age? What were your goals? No, not goals. What was your life like then? At 24, my mother was divorced with a 3 year-old son. She was living in a house her brother had to co-sign on because divorced women were seen as a credit risk back then.

My father, if memory serves me well, had just moved from Colorado to Norfolk, Virginia because he had never seen the ocean. He was working as a carpenter and living next door to my mother. He was driving a '57 Chevy with a bad transmission that he would repair regularly in his driveway so he could go to work the next morning.

One brother (the 3 year-old from two paragraphs ago) was going to college in Radford, Virginia. He was dating one of the women who he probably should have married and never did. He fished a lot and spent most of his time with his best friend, John.

My other brother was a college drop out and living across the street from my parents (in that same house Mom had bought years before). To the best of my memory, he was kind of at a low point then.

Jeremy was working 12 hour shifts at a textile factory in Radford and dating Gen. He had just recently bought his dog, Casey. He was 25 when he met me. I was 18.

Where should you be at 24? What should you be doing? I think it's different for everyone. There is no map of life. Have I lived my whole life in the future? Have I spent so much time worrying about tomorrow that I can't enjoy today? I don't think so. I think my version of today is a lot more packed and fast-paced than some. It's a good speed for me, though.

I went to public school originally. I skipped the third grade. Actually, I spent most of my second grade in the third grade classroom down the hall. I would come back to my second grade class and my teacher would have me grade my classmates' papers. Sigh. I found out a lot of things when I got to fourth grade that I missed by skipping third. That's when you start using "regular" paper (not that landscape stuff with the huge font size). That's when you learn cursive. I had the cursive down but the different paper was a little bit of a shock.

When I got to middle school I spent most of the sixth grade in the seventh grade classes. By the end of that year, it was going to be somewhat ridiculous for me to go into the seventh grade and do all the same things over again. My mother lamented that I was not going to adapt well if I skipped another grade. That I was going to be over two years younger than most of my classmates. There is something to be said for being the same age as your peers. My parents did not know what to do with me. They didn't want me to be bored, but they didn't know if moving up another grade was the best for me either.

The final solution was for me to go to private school. I started seventh grade at Norfolk Academy. It changed my life for the better. I didn't skip another grade, but just went to a completely different environment. I had opportunities at that school that I never would have had in public school (nevermind that tuition was more there than in-state tuition at Virginia Tech). I took five years of Latin. I took a math independent study course my senior year (they ran out of math courses for me). I studied cello from the principal cellist for the Virginia Symphony. I took dance lessons from a man with international renown. I did so many things that I could never have done in public school. Or maybe I could have, but it wouldn't have been as easy.

At what point do you stop being in grades? What grade would I be in now? 19th grade? What is the curriculum in that grade? Does it count as skipping another grade if I finished college in three years? Does that put me in 20th grade? Does it really matter?