#19 ~ 20 Years

What were you thinking 20 years ago?

Really, what kind of thoughts ran around that pretty little head of yours? Or, maybe I don’t want to know.  heh heh

Let me be more specific – 20 years ago, where did you think you would be now?

(By the way, that photo of me is from 16 years ago. The whole ’20 years’ thing will make sense in a minute. Yes, that was my school’s mascot and yes, I wore an outfit to match the bengal. I had WAY too much school spirit, I know.)

I was cleaning out a cabinet the other day (clutch the pearls, yes, I was cleaning something) and came across some old high school stuff. Recently, I was in charge of my 15 year high school reunion (OK, I just had to take a deep breath. Please, lock me in a closet next time I volunteer to do that again.) and I still have remnants of the event stuffed in the corner of my office. I thought it was about time I did something with it…the reunion was last October.

Being the sentimental sap I am, I had to thumb through the pages of the last school newspaper. May 1994 – seems like yesterday, seems like forever ago. I chuckled as I read through the articles… That one guy is most likely to go bald. You know who will one day be Hollywood bound. What’s his name will surely become a monk. Prom Queen and King were crowned. Scholarships and other honors awarded. Fond memories all bound into a few sheets of paper.

Of course, the article labeled “Melody’s Notes” caught my eye. There was a little section of the paper reserved for ramblings of my own. I was Student Body President and a tiny part of my job description involved writing something inspiring on a monthly basis for my fellow students. The last paragraph in my last article in the last school newspaper read this: (I’m going to quote myself right now. Weird…)

“Twenty years from now you might be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So, GO FOR IT!! Reach for your goals; they’re not as high as you think!

I must admit, I just got a little twinge of pride for my teenaged self. I remember being ready to conquer the world. I was itching to dive into the next chapter of the book of Melody, but to be honest, I had NO clue where the story would lead me – and THAT is what I have always thrived on. Newness. Fresh beginnings. Bold new projects…

I had goals back then. They morphed and transformed into a life I hadn’t quite imagined. A different life, but a great one. College bound, I wanted to become a broadcast journalist. I changed my mind about a month into my first semester. I always swore I wouldn’t get married until I was 30 and set in a career. I got married when I was 19 (and still very happily married 14 years later, by the way). For a brief moment, I wanted to become a private investigator. (That’s a whole story in itself.) I started a wedding business instead. I just knew I’d be doing that the rest of my life and then nine years later we had our first child. It’s true, a baby changes everything.

If I had led my life according to the plans I had in mind 16 years ago, I would be a completely different person now. Life takes us on side trips. There are so many lessons we have to learn along the way and, if not learned, sometimes we have to flip a U-turn, take a detour or go a route we never even knew was on the map.

So, here I am walking down an unfamiliar trail with yet another goal. The ‘project’ … at times I am still overwhelmed by it. I constantly have this banter between my brain and my heart, “You’re crazy. You’re gutsy. This is insane. This is exciting! Seriously, you’re tall and all, but this is way too big. You’re so tall, those jeans aren’t long enough…”

As I look back at the 17 year old who told everyone to ‘go for it’ so boldly, I can’t help but feel the self-induced kick in the butt.

Twenty years from now, I don’t want to be disappointed by the things I didn’t do.

Go for it.

©2010 Melody G. Fritchley


  1. Mari said

    I’ve enjoyed going back in time with you. You were wise for you age – and I like the picture too!

  2. Courtney said

    I knew “of” you then, and you were quite the impressive person….and not just because you towered over me in the halls. You had a sincerity to both your school spirit and to your “umph” for life that was comforting and contageous at the same time.

    Almost 20 years later, I actually “know” you and I am honored to call you friend. But you’re really more like my sister. I thank God for your presence in my life and for the things that you inspire in me. I can honestly say that my recovery would be sadly behind if it weren’t for the excitement of “Mel” in my life. God is doing amazing things through you, and I am so happy to be able to see them!! Thanks for giving me things to read at 3:44am when I can’t sleep. 

    • Melody said

      Awww Court…you are so good for my mental health. Thank you so much. I’m beyond blessed to have you in my life now!

      Now, get some rest, Missy! 😉


  3. You were quite a wise teen. I don’t think I ever thought about NOT doing what I thought I was going to.

    Twenty years ago I was nine and I don’t remember specifically, but I probably wanted to be a mom of two kids. I didn’t fall too short of that one.

    By senior year of high school I had decided on being the marketing director of a major corporation. Miss.

    The “side trips” and U-turns are better than anything we could plan!

  4. I’ve always said that you know you are getting older when you can actually remember what happened 20 years ago!! I wish I could go back 20 years and tell myself to chill out and not be so hard on myself, because things have a way of working out the way they’re supposed to!

  5. Andrea said

    Wow, I never really posed this question to myself! I think 20 years ago, I was hoping I’d be married and be a mom. Maybe I didn’t have enough ambition, but that’s just where I am. There is more to the story, but that is the biggest part of it!

    Love the picture! I have some quite embarassing photos from 20 years ago.

    • Melody said

      I want to see those embarrassing photos! ha! Gotta love old school pictures!


  6. michelle z said

    I remember that newspaper well. In fact I still have a copy of our Seniors Wills! I think in a few more years when we hit our 20th I will be where I want to be. Every day we should remember your words…”Go for it.”

  7. Thomas Jefferson. Albert Einstein. Galileo Galilei. Walt Disney. J.K. Rowling. All of these extraordinary people were once just average people trying to realize their dreams. Sometimes people catch a lucky break, but I’ve never known hard work and perseverance to not pay off. =)

  8. This is wonderful, please ((HUG)) that wise 17 y/o girl who is within your heart and spirit too. Thank you, Melody.

  9. Tiffany said

    I’m so glad I found that picture of you and posted it. It makes me smile!!! Also the many years of our friendship makes me smile too. All the nutty things we did when we were “kids”… who knew back then how we’d all turn out as “grown ups”. I still can’t believe we’re 30-something year old MOMS…. and where our lives have led us.

    I always knew you’d do great things LTB…. and you’re still doing them.

  10. Amy said

    Thanks so much for this blog! It couldn’t have been written at a better time for me to read. I am struggling with some decisions right now, and a “Uturn”, may just be the answer to my struggles. Thank you for reminding me what aspirations we had in High School & even though we may not have done exactly what we thought we would, we still can achieve greatness in ourselves, we just need to find the inspirations again, like we had as teenagers!
    I read every one of your blogs, inspired, impressed & motivated to make changes in my life. I anxiously await more reveals on the ‘project'(s).
    I love the pics Jessie took of you, btw! (You have become such a beautiful woman, inside & out; you were always my cute “‘big’, ‘lil’ sis”, so I never looked at you the way I do now. I am so proud of you!) (Jessie’s so great at what she does, too-an inspiration as well. Who knew my fellow classmates had such greatness all these years later? JK!) I know that EVERYONE has greatness, some of us have just fallen off the track, or taken some ‘side trips’, as you cleverly called it! 🙂
    I’m ususally not one to comment on blogs, and honestly feel a little weird doing so, but at the same time, inspired enough to share & compliment you on doing so great with this & getting such an amazing following; being able to meet new people with your interviews (getting a lil taste of what being a journalist woulda been like-hee!) and sharing all of your journeys along the way with ‘the project'(s)-just amazing to me!
    While you may be kicking yourself in the proverbial butt, & struggling internally with yourself, just know that I (along with so many others) am cheering you on–YOU GO GIRL!

    • Melody said

      Wow, Amy…thank you SO much for the amazingly encouraging words. I don’t even know how to respond…you truly just blessed my socks off! You’ve always been such a great cheerleader of mine. I’m very thankful we’re still in touch even though there are miles and miles between us.



      Oh and thanks for leaving a comment…I sometimes wonder who is reading the blog. I see the amount of readers, but wonder who they are!

  11. Karen said

    I also remember reading that quote in the paper 16 years ago. And as my life is so different than I had planned back then also, one thing hasn’t changed through the years. Your addictive excitement. Your energy is so much and so positive that you can’t help but light up a room when you enter it. It was something I tried to take with me after we graduated, and with things that happen in our lives, we sometimes lose some of our spark. But low and behold, God has brought you back into my life in several ways and at the reunion, I felt energized again! Thank you for your inspirational words, not only then, but by living them yourself and showing us all that we can too!

    • Melody said

      Thank YOU for your inspirational words, Karen! You’re an amazing person with so much to offer…and I’m thankful our paths have crossed again! I’ll never forget how we went crazy when we realized we were sitting next to each other in church after not seeing one another for YEARS! Gotta love that!!

      Looking forward to creating many more fun memories together…and with our kiddos! Now, if we could only get our schedules to work out! ha!


  12. elizabeth said

    and don’t you know that “20 years from now” will pass by in the blink of an eye! love the bucket list project. thanks so very much for stopping by my blog and helping make my SITS day so special!

  13. Crystal said

    Seriously Melody, can I say it enough, YOU are amazing! I just love the way you write, and I love how motivating and inspirational you are.
    I love thinking back in high school. My husbands mascot was also a Bengal.
    It’s crazy what life brings. None of my original plans fell through, but like you said they we learn throughout the process. I was a week away from moving to California when I met my husband. I quit my job and everything. I wanted to be an actress, haha. Boy was that the wrong thing for me. It’s funny how life goes, sometimes we get so set on something and think that is what we are meant to do, but really then life takes it’s turns and we realize our true destiny.
    What a great post, seriously LOVE everything you do 🙂

    • Melody said

      Awww thanks so much, Crystal! Exactly, sometimes life’s turns are where we are really supposed to be…we just ‘think’ we know the destination.


  14. Kerry said

    Hmmmm, well 20 years ago I was thirteen, in eighth grade, and probably only thought about marrying Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block!

    • Melody said

      LOL Jonathan Knight! You know, he was my favorite because he was so tall! ha!

  15. Danae said

    Thank you for writing that. I’m in love with your spirit!

  16. Kristin said

    20 years ago I thought I was going to marry Jonathon Knight. A little over a year ago I went to an NKOTB reunion concert wearing a shirt that said…I still love Jonathon. The hubs knows and he’s ok with it….Not much has changed in 20 years. Ah ha ha

  17. Not going for it is not an option.

  18. I was a wee fresh face 20 year old and the world was my oyster…..I still feel that way, even with three kids and reaching the grand old age of 40!

    I love this blog! Now, where can I find your bucket list? Do you have it posted? I’ll go look round, you don’t mind if I open a few cupboards do you? I’ll mibbe leave a cake….. ;O)


  19. persis said

    this is a wonderfully inspiring post. i can’t help but quote “don’t count the minutes in you life, count the life in your minutes.”

    have a lovely day.


  20. Love the picture!
    I need to start thinking about where I want to be i the next 20 years. Thanks for this great post!

    Stopping by from SITS

  21. KellieS said

    You have every right to be proud of such insight at that age.

    Things really do go much differently than what you think when your a teen. I try not to regret anything about my life though. That road is one of despair. The important thing is being present on every part of the journey and understanding why your taking it.

  22. Just stopping by to thank you for visiting me on my SITS day and leaving me some blog love! Everyone was so sweet and I really enjoyed the day!


  23. LeighAnne said

    You are very inspiring! Read this at the perfect time as we have Possibly come on to a new path all together! More than a u turn! He He I can’t say where this path goes. Now I have a secret! “How do you like them apples!” love your blog!

  24. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m so glad you did, and so glad I found your inspirational blog. I loved reading your posts and interviews. It is so great to surround yourself with positive people. I can’t wait to learn more from you and from the other amazing ladies on your blog. Thank you. Alisa: a pina colada.

  25. amber said

    20 years ago, (17 from high school graduation, yikes!) I could have never imagined the twists and turns that my life would take. I’m not leading the life I thought I would, but I’ve taken a lot of big risks, and they’ve paid off better than I could have hoped. I too hope I can say the same thing twenty years from now!

    Stopping by from the Lady Blogger’s Tea Party. Glad I found you!

  26. WOW! Stopped by for the Lady Blogger Tea Party and spent more than a cup of tea! You have been bookmarked!

    I have been in a self-reflective phase myself and this gave great food for thought. 20 years ago, I was married, working all the time, and contemplating divorce.

    No, my life would have been so much different if it had gone the way I planned it back in high school. (30 years ago) but I am once again realizing that I need to remember the successes = unplanned or otherwise and continue to move forward.

    Love the bucket list concept! Might try that myself!


  27. Roz said

    Awesome story to share. This goes back to when you were talking about hoping and dreaming for the world exists in our young hearts, somewhere down the line we decided it is to scary for whatever reason. Stick with it lady! Your 16/17 old self would be proud!

  28. Jack said

    Twenty years ago I was a senior in college who had just decided to change majors. If I have learned anything over the past 20 it is that more often than not life throws a curveball that sends us walking down the road not taken. At least the road that we didn’t think we were going to end up on.

    So here I am a hair short of 41 and about to make some huge changes in my life. It hasn’t been what I expected it to be, but that is part of the fun of the journey, now isn’t it.

  29. Crystal said

    I was the same way…wanted to conquer the world. I’m tired now. lol.

  30. I often think of this too, Melody. In 20 years, will I regret that I didn’t do this? This is often how I make decisions.

    Love the photo!

  31. […] many that help me look at myself and inspire me!  Tony-the Anti-Jared  wrote an analogy about a Corvette and low-fat, snacks.  It took me back to my first road […]

  32. […] the laundry, I smiled, held back a tear and reminded myself that this is nothing. This is merely a detour on a road trip that will provide endless stories that will last a lifetime. I’ll enjoy the […]

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