Let’s take a trip back to 2000.
Remember those days? The Y2K bug had became a laughing stock. NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye was enormous, and Britney Spears was cooing “Oops, I Did It Again” in that baby-girl voice of hers. Gladiator became an instant hit, and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas ensured Jim Carrey would become a Christmas staple.
I was about 12 years old. I had a fantastic hairstyle and loved roll-on body glitter. Bath and Body Works took plenty of my allowance, and I wanted a bright-yellow Hummer when I turned 16. I knew every word to the Spiceworld album and had the platform shoes to match.
And I loved horses.
I was taking horseback riding lessons. I read through every horsey book series I could find (mostly the Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell and The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley). Even my wallpaper boarder portrayed leaping horses in an array of pastels.
And I dreamed about living on a horse farm one day.
Side Note: My parents, though not interested in owning a horse, gave me the opportunity to “earn” a horse. I could do chores and earn a certain amount of money, as this would show my commitment and responsibility. Yeah, I didn’t do one chore, so I have no one to blame but myself.
At some point, I got my hands on a pack of gel pens and a ruler. I remember spending an evening making a blueprint of my dream home. Well, it’s more of a dream farm, really. Using three pieces of notebook paper, Scotch tape, and my purple, gold, and orange gel pens, I sketched out my future.
At the heart of my blueprint stands a two-story farm house, complete with a grass parking lot for my guests’ convenience (why would I be having guests?). There’s also a 10-stall stable with an adjacent muck pile for my convenience (always thinking ahead!).
I have five, ruler-straight “rodent hutches” in place and a “rodent play pen” across the yard. Don’t worry, as the dogs and cats have their own “play pens” as well. There are three paddocks for the horses, and one even has a lily pond. The cow pen only has a tree for decoration, while the horses also get a dressage arena and show-jumping ring.
Once I completed my grand plan, I did the only smart thing and packed it into my 6th-grade backpack. Then I started showing my masterpiece to my classmates. One boy wisely suggested I convert my “dirt” driveway (which I literally wrote on my plan) to a concrete driveway, as it would keep my car much cleaner. This made logical sense, so I erased an adjective.
After adding a map key to clearly reveal where the bleachers (for the dressage arena, obviously), feed buckets, and water troughs were located, I took a deep breath and decided to show my coolest teacher–my math teacher, Mr. Van.
After waiting in line behind a few students (who were probably asking him about something, oh, I don’t know…math related?), I unfolded my three-page sketch and placed it on Mr. Van’s desk. I was so proud.
“What do you have here?” he asked.
“I drew my dream house,” I said.
He took a closer look at it, saw the “rodent playpen,” and burst out laughing.
And that is the day I started disliking math.
I kid, I kid! Well, math and I have never quite seen eye to eye, but I think that would’ve happened regardless. I really don’t blame Mr. Van, because–let’s be honest–would I really be spending my days cleaning out rodent hutches? I had a hamster when I was a newlywed, got bitten once, and was thrilled whe I n that rat died of natural causes.
As it turns out, I’m not the animal lover I thought I was. I like having a cat/dog-hair-free house, and I already have to clean up plenty of little beings on a daily basis. At 16, I was more than ready to trade in horses for horsepower, and I haven’t really looked back. I would, however, love to pass on that equine love to my daughter. It’s the perfect way for a young girl to let her adventure-filled imagination roam. All she needs is a trusty steed.
If you had followed your childhood fantasies, how different would you life look?
Frommer’s 500 Places To Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up – I love planning trips, so this travel tome caught my eye at the library this week. I’ve already torn up numerous scraps of paper to bookmark future ventures. While I’m keeping the Galapagos Islands on my bucket list, I’m more than a little bummed at the cost of flying to Ecuador! If anyone has a timeshare, lemme know…