To The Alternate Version Of Myself

To The Alternate Version Of Myself That Could've Been

My life could've turned out differently, but I'm glad I chose the path that I did instead of the alternative.

JordynL
JordynL
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If you watch or read anything with a supernatural plot, you may be aware of alternate universes or realities that are mirroring ours in a different plane. When I allow my mind to wander, I catch myself imagining what my alternate self is doing and how that life has turned out. However, if you don't watch or read anything like that, the reality of the situation is that I like to refer back to all the decisions I've made that have shaped me into the person I am today. I look back at everything I could've done instead of the things that I have done. After realizing a lot of events and decisions in hind sight that could've swayed me to the other side, I'm glad that I'm the person that I am today instead of what I inevitably would've been.

Those those of you who don't know me, I'm the type of person that sets her mind to something and follows through with it. Anyone can have this mindset, sure. The difference is choosing what to do with it; to use it in a positive light and become successful, or a negative one and be a waste of life and leech off of the government. I don't mean to "toot my own horn", but I've done everything in a positive and semi-responsible light and I'm proud of it. So, toot-toot.


In my alternate reality, I was a stoner that spent all my time with the "burn outs". I constantly went to parties and snuck into my house hours after curfew smelling like almost every illegal thing under the sun. I always would've been in detention, getting suspended, and maybe even expelled- all while not caring in the slightest. I ended up being a high school mother. I started working at a fast food restaurant, actually believing that owning my own chain would be a good idea. I would graduate high school with a very low D average, surprising everyone that I actually graduated. I didn't attend college, or even enroll, because "school wasn't my thing and it would be a waste of time". I eventually became roommates in the most trashy part of town with the previous mentioned "burn outs" and the 'coolest guy in the group' would be my baby's father, of whom would've been involved in a shady business and I blindly supported his decisions. And because of all the drugs and alcohol consumed, my child would have many medical issues that we wouldn't be able to afford (attempting) to treat. We would be surviving on food stamps and other government assistance while preaching "our government is trash" even though they're providing me with my miserable life. Adding to the hypocrisy, I would spend my paychecks getting my nails done and buying things I didn't need, all while not providing for my child and skipping out on rent. I somehow became an assistant manager of the fast food restaurant I previously mentioned, despite the fact that I do absolutely nothing productive. And finally, I lost custody of my child because the neighbors (rightfully) called Child Protective Services, the "burn-out-love-of-my-life" would be arrested, and eventually I would be evicted. Depression would obviously raise its head and a bottle of sleeping pills never looked so delicious.

I have a creative imagination, don't I? Obviously a dark twist. My mind wanders and provides vivid details, and in some cases it's a gift. The sad part is, this is a reality for a decent amount of people in the town where I went to high school. Thankfully, I didn't give into peer pressure and follow their pathetic and idiotic recommendations. Aside from having common sense, my mom is a hard-ass and NEVER would've let any of this happen. If it did, she wouldn't have tolerated any of it and sent me to military school or some type of detention center in attempt to scare me straight.

Now bare with me while I toot the hell out of my horn.

I hung out with the good kids. I spent my nights and early mornings at some type of band rehearsal (insert nerd jokes here). Instead of parties, I was at band contests and singing along to soundtracks on the bus-ride home. I very rarely showed up after curfew (not counting all the times I was only minutes late. Traffic, you know?). I NEVER snuck in or out of my house because I knew my mom would kill me. I was a teacher's pet, always did my work, and 99% of the assignments were on time. I was a virgin until the summer after graduation (insert jokes/appraisals here), still with no kids! I did work in a restaurant, but it was to help raise money for my trip/musical tour to Europe. I graduated high school with a 3.6 (maybe 3.7?) GPA. I just finished my third year at my dream school and loving every minute of it; friends, sports events, tailgating, and learning all the things necessary for me to be successful in my field of choice- I'm an Elementary Education Major (insert jokes and "oh you're so brave" comments here). No roommates and no trashy neighborhoods (thank God). As I said before, I don't have a baby so there's no loser baby-daddy (and there won't be one). I will NOT do anything irresponsible during pregnancy- I'm not a terrible human being. No food stamps because I can actually find a decent job to take care of myself, I'm not lazy, or the bottom of the socioeconomic food chain. I also don't claim that our government is trash (insert idiotic, uninformed Republican jokes here). The only time I "treat myself" is for special occasions or when I have the spare funds to do so (and I've only gotten my nails done three times), and the occasional impulse buy isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, no kids, I'm not irresponsible so I don't skip out on rent, and why would I work in the fast food business, let alone become an assistant manager of one? Honestly. And obviously, I'm still alive and kicking.

I may sound like a spoiled and entitled bitch, and I'll admit to that a little. But at the same time, I've worked SO hard for everything that I have. My parents never handed me anything; I had to earn it; deserve it. Overall, I'm not irresponsible, although I occasionally make stupid decisions- we're allowed a few every once in a while, right? I have common sense and have the ability to make sound decisions, along with being gifted as a pretty good people reader (thanks mom). I can tell which situations and people aren't worth the time and I'm so thankful for that. It has saved me so much trouble and provided me with so many amazing opportunities.


Words can't describe how thankful I am to be the person I am today instead of the person I could've been (at least in the alternate reality I imagined). I'm glad I've had the same goals since I was a kid, and so grateful that I have the mother that I do. She always kept me on the right path and encouraged me to succeed and follow my dreams. I'm glad I have the drive that I do and used my mindset in a positive way.I truly believe my future is bright and full of many opportunities. Only time will tell. As long as I continue following the path that I'm on now, I'll be perfectly fine.

So to my alternate self, I'm glad I didn't give in to peer pressure and live a life that corresponds to those that made unfortunate decisions. I'm glad I'm thriving and working to achieve success. I'm glad I'm not you.

Once again, toot-toot.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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I am in the best shape of my life...or at least I think so, and that's what truly matters.

I look in the mirror and feel confident.

I finally feel comfortable wearing crop tops, and I'm even starting to show visible abs. But getting here has been such a difficult journey filled with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and other physical and mental struggles that hindered my ability to achieve my goals.

I have been on this health and fitness journey for many, many years now. I've been a size 00, a size 12, and every size in between.

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My new focus was to be as strong as possible—to lift the heaviest weights, rather than losing the most weight. If you too, want to be in the best shape of your life but have struggled for so long, read my tips below.

1. EAT MORE

I know, it sounds crazy. As women, we are constantly told about diets and cutting calories. If you just want to be skinny, you can do that. But if you want to be strong, you need to eat to be able to put on the muscle.

2. ALLOW YOURSELF TO HAVE CHEAT MEALS

If you have struggled with eating disorders like me, satisfying your cravings will prevent you from having major setbacks.

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Get your butt off that elliptical and into the weight room.

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Again, especially if you want to build muscle, you need rest days. These are the days where your muscles are "actually" growing.

5. DON'T RUSH IT

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