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    Millennials Who Peaked In The 2010s Are Revealing Just How Much Of Their Lives Diverged From Their Original Plan, And It's Surprisingly Inspiring

    "Back then, I didn't see myself living past my late 20s. ... I'm glad I stuck it out."

    I was recently transported back to 2009, the peak of the "indie sleaze" era, when I attended the Just Like Heaven music fest in Los Angeles. Headliners like MGMT, M83, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and even Azealia Banks took me back to listening to my blue iPod nano on the way to AP Calculus. It got me so sentimental and I thought, Where did I think I was going to be today when I was back in high school, over 10 years ago?

    Author posing in front of the Just Like Heaven music festival sign, author at a younger age, and Just Like Heaven 2023 lineup

    Since nostalgia and millennial sadness were in the air that day, I asked other adults (including a few Gen X'ers) at the festival who they thought they'd be by now when they were in high school, how they've changed, and what their biggest regret is. In exchange for their honesty, I drew these anonymous portraits of them. Here are their stories:

    Note: Some names and identifying details have been altered for anonymity. 

    Raya the screenwriter previously wanted to be a session guitarist
    Keely the photographer thought she'd be a stay-at-home mom
    Saul the bartender thought he'd be a lawyer
    Molly the stay-at-home mom with her family
    Ronnie the writer thought he'd be a teacher
    Claire the musician thought she'd be dead
    Angel the grocery store employee used to want to work for Condé Nast publishing
    Jennifer the gig worker used to book bands at concert venues
    Mick in online marketing used to think he'd be stuck in Montana
    Mike the cruise ship employee thought he'd be dead before 2023

    Where did you think you'd be now back in high school, and what does your life look like now? How do you feel about it? Share your slice of life in the comments.