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It was a different world when we were their age.

I visited some dear friends yesterday to spread some Christmas cheer. My dearest friends are like me in that their kids are growing or have grown up way too fast. I was telling my best friend about something that happened to one of my kids, and I realized that it wasn’t so long ago when we were their age. Our world was much different, though.

When we were in our early twenties, we had to call each other on the telephone, which was either attached to a wall or had a charging station attached to a wall with a range of a few feet from your house. Once we left the house, we were unreachable until we arrived at a location that had a phone.

Oh, I know cell phones were around back then, but no one I knew had enough money for such a luxury. I always had to call my mom to let her know I made it to my destination safe and sound to keep her from worrying. She gave me a calling card to use, so our home phone number would be charged for the call. It was cheaper than calling collect.

We wrote letters that we stamped and mailed with the US Post Office. It was a really big deal to have a pen pal in a different country. My pen pal lived in Spain, and I absolutely loved receiving letters from her. If we’d had email or social media back then, Anna and I might not have lost touch along the way. The last time I heard from her, she was moving to France. I imagine her life was much more exciting than mine.

Our early twenties were a magical time for my friends and me. We were finally adults, but still in college and living at home. We were somewhere between being full grown and still being kids. We were idealistic and believed that good always triumphed over evil. We were positive about the future. We just knew that we would achieve our dreams.

Our dreams didn’t necessarily equate to a pay check. Life happened. Our idealism shattered. Our dreams were altered, postponed, or simply abandoned because bills must be paid and bellies must be filled.

There’s always the hope of returning to those lofty goals and aspirations of youth, which is what I’ve been attempting. I never completely gave up on my ultimate goal. I postponed it for twenty years. Nine years ago, I decided to revisit my dream, and see where it took me. I’ve been working towards it slowly but surely since.

My friends and I have six children between us. Most of our children are still young and idealistic. My husband likes to say they believe they’re ten feet tall and bulletproof. My step-daughter has had her dose of reality, but the other kids haven’t yet. The others will be splashed in the face with cold reality soon enough. For now, I admire their idealism and self-assurance.

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