For the third installment of my Letters to My 18-Year-Old Self project using the ALP Story Journal, I decided it would be funny to rummage through the folder I have on an external hard drive full of my old MySpace profiles. I figured I would find some dramatic declaration of my hopes and dreams for the page since they were all written around the time I was 18/19. Instead, I actually ended up coming across a paragraph that took me by surprise:

I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, but does anyone? I want to do something completely unconventional with my life, but I doubt that’ll happen. Realistically, I’ll probably end up doing something History-related. A researcher or an archivist, perhaps.

I had no idea I had even considered becoming an Archivist before I had finished my undergraduate degree. It makes me smile that I fulfilled what I thought I’d realistically do, but that I also did it in the unconventional way that I dreamed of. I’m pretty sure that 18 year old me would not believe that I would become an Archivist working in the United States!

To start my third page in the ALP Story Journal, I used a piece from the Pretty Paper Pack that looked like something I would come across in the archives and glued it to the page.

I also thought it was really cool that the pack had an item that resembles the archival folders I use in work – I just had to use it for this page! I stuck an ALP sticker to the top right of the “folder” (as I do in work to show the information of an archival collection) to represent my work life hopes and dreams.

There was also part of a map showing the UK and the Atlantic Ocean, which I thought could represent my “unconventional” move across the world. I decided to stain the papers with brown/yellow acrylics and a teabag – my favorite way to make papers look older and archival!

For the finishing touches, I attached some torn post-it notes to the left side with my hopes and dreams as an 18-year-old. I wrote the word “Archivist” on the folder and surrounded it with some archival doodles, drew a little doodle of a plane crossing the ocean, and added a few more doodles and thoughts about fulfilling some of my hopes/dreams (including getting married in a black dress!).

Looking back on all the worrying I did as a teen about where I was going in life, I think my 18-year-old self would be happy and relieved with how everything turned out. I wish I could go back in time to give myself this page and stop being so terrified about the future!

  1. Melissa LaFavers 4 months ago

    I love this! Makes me want to dig into my past, too! How cool that you’re using the Story Journal for this project. So nifty.

    • Author
      Sarah Mason 4 months ago

      Yay! I’m glad it makes you want to dig into your past too 🙂 it’s actually kickstarted a larger project for me, so I think it’s really rewarding! Thank you for the kind words as well <3

  2. CindyJacobs 4 months ago

    OMG this is so great!! We are lucky you crossed the ocean to come here!

  3. Shannon Yates 4 months ago

    Sarah, I sooo love your story of digging through past stories only to find that you are living the story of ‘what will I be when I grow up”! Over the years I kept diaries, if you remember the 5 yr diary in one book. After reading your post, I dug through my boxes of these diaries and found the one from 1969 when I was 17 and finishing Gr 12. In this diary I read the funniest entry — the results of an ‘interest inventory’ I took in Gr 12 told me that I should be a cowgirl or a Nun. Neither of these I became, although I was raised on a ranch and my Aunt was a Nun. My first career was a Social Worker which maybe kind of fit the Nun profile and my second career was an Adult Educator. Anyway, thanks for jarring my memory to look back many yrs ago!!!

    • Author
      Sarah Mason 4 months ago

      That’s so amazing, Shannon! I’m glad you felt inspired to look through your old journals (right now I’m finding that’s not always an easy thing to do). I love that it was either cowgirl or Nun – and that it actually hit home for you! That’s so funny and fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing your great story 🙂

      • Shannon Yates 4 months ago

        Sarah, keep going with your digging as I am really liking your posts that I can only guess are somewhat linked to your past!

        • Author
          Sarah Mason 4 months ago

          Thank you so much, Shannon! I will be continuing with my Letters to My 18 Year Old Self here on the blog – I’m also doing a wider project digging into my old written journals too, which you will be able to see on my blog and Instagram 🙂 I just have to get over my fear of starting it!

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