Monday, July 8, 2013

My Look Book: Piecing Together My Perfect Future

In high school, I distinctly remember my art teacher assigning us a project for creating a sort of look book. It was more of a designer project where we found a floorplan that we liked in a design magazine, then chose images of fabric swatches, furniture and paints. That was my freshman year, and smack dab in the middle of my wild imagination for how life would be by the time I graduated college, found my amazing first job, and started the family with the man I loved. Except there was a catch: I was neither in love, nor did I have a set career in mind, and my expectations were way off.

Once I hit my senior year of high school, I began dating a guy who I would later marry. Falling in love followed and before I knew it, we were off to college together and within another year, signing our first apartment lease. Moving in with him wasn't really a tough decision at all since I knew it would save money by splitting the rent and food instead of living in the dorms again for a second year. Soon after we moved in, I began to dream about what our little apartment could one day look like. 

We only had some hand-me-down furniture, a vintage and tattered couch, our new dining room table, a couple of cheap computer desks, and my brother's old bedroom furniture. At this point in my life, I wanted to work at a magazine as an associate editor, so our mailbox was always full of magazines including Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens. I felt like such a middle-aged mom subscribing to those magazines, but the homes featured inside of them were almost always stunning. 

I began to thumb through the magazines and tear out images and tidbits of info, much like that high school project I described earlier. What resulted is my heavy "Look Book" which contains bits and pieces of how I envisioned my future home. It's funny now, since I tend to laugh at how naive I was about everything, including my dream to own a home by the time I was 25. What was I thinking?! Not about student loan debt or the impossibility to even save for a down payment on a home years after working at my first job, obviously! I'm not sure why I thought it would be easy, but it's something that I can smile about now. 

While moving this last time, I grabbed the Look Book off my shelf and considered tossing it away. Before I put the book down, I opened it and felt a little nostalgic looking at it again and seeing the choices I so carefully taped inside of this book. Each page consists of cardstock and images taped to ever so gracefully to create dozens of mini-collages that represented what I thought my house would look like. It's like an imaginary fairy-tale that I was creating. I couldn't let it go, and many of those images still reflect my style. 

I saved dozens of article about finances before I even really knew how to budget, organizational tips that I still use, and omnivore recipes that I no longer crave. I don't have the heart to throw it out since I know I invested several hours compiling these together. It's interesting to look back and see how I've always been in some way a little too prepared for life and in the same sense, totally unaware of what challenges I had before me. For now, we'll keep chugging along as usual, and I'll continue striving to understand what I really want in life.

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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