I entered this world on Sunday, Sept. 5, 1999 at 2:08 p.m. And by the time you read this column, it will be approximately 26 hours before I officially celebrate turning 20 years old. If you asked pubescent Jaleesia what she would be doing at 20 years old, she would tell you that she would be a doctor with a nice house… she really knew how to dream big let me tell you. But if you asked me now what I would be doing, say tomorrow, save your breath because I have no idea what’s going on right now.
These past couple of days I’ve been thinking a lot about the things little Jaleesia wouldn’t have predicted by the time she turned 20. She would have never expected me to be at CU Denver for college (she wanted Harvard; god I know I hate myself, too). And she would have scoffed at the idea of me pursuing any career outside of being a lawyer, doctor, or…chef. Yes, you read that correctly.
Naturally, I’ve always been someone with a plan, someone with a backup plan for her plans, and someone who has always been sure of herself. That, I can confidently say, is not the same person I look at in the mirror today. If anything, I would say my past self was rigid, inflexible, and scared of change. And now, I would still describe myself as rigid, inflexible, and scared of change but now I have this internal detonator slowly ticking away at each approaching day to graduation. If there’s one thing I can say has been consistent in these past 20 years: my flare for the dramatics.
Jaleesia at 20 is in college, living in the dorms, pursuing a career or careers in English Literature and Communication. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, where she’s going, and she doesn’t want you to ask.