Last week, before the flu entered our home and made camp, I was supposed to be working on a writing project with my sister. I was under a self-imposed deadline so naturally I determined it was a critical time to do anything other than work on the actual assignment. This included reading my 7th grade paper on Gone with the Wind, my 10th grade paper on pollution, collecting all the change in my house and leafing through some old diary entries from when I was 20.
Nothing is more cringe-worthy than coming face-to-face with your 20 year-old self. Excuse me, what I mean is coming face-to-face with “A scared 19 year-old girl staring uncertainly down the dawn of a new life decade,” (Webb, 1996).
I started reading and all I have to say is that I really wanted to punch that girl.
As I read, I learned that the 20 year-old me was , “desperately searching for the real woman inside” and reminding herself to, “visualize her Montana bed and breakfast” and that she was “an uncut diamond of possibility,” and “way more than a checkout girl at Mervyns.” (Webb, 1996)
And while I was reading (from under the covers in my bed) I was screaming at that girl to keep her job at Mervyns and even get a 2nd job and open a Roth IRA or start to save up for a house. I wanted to shake her and tell her to stop spending all her money on make-up at CVS, and to keep the “long and winding road that is to be my life” in perspective (Webb, 1996). I wanted to spare her the old saying that things just work themselves out and introduce her to the concept that as you get older, YOU SIMPLY DON’T HAVE TIME TO THINK THIS MUCH.
Back then, I wanted people to like me. I wanted someone to fall madly in love with me. I wanted the respect of my peers and enough success to show everyone I went to high school with that I was someone.
Now? OMG…I want to remember where I put my car keys.
I want to stop snoring.
I want people to know where they are going before they pull out in front of me only to slow down and randomly put on their blinker.
I want people to pick up the pace in the grocery store parking lot.
I want my oldest son to stop telling me he wants to be in charge of the house because I’m afraid I might take him up on it one day.
I want someone to bottom line how the most recent decisions in Washington are going to affect me and my family because, as it turns out, I don’t really care about other people all that much anymore.
As I kept reading, I wanted to light the part where I wrote a poem in the actual shape of a triangle about having “a face of feeling under a mask of metal,” on fire and bury the ashes in a landfill.
Some of my writing made it seem like I had deep problems or depression that I was dealing with. I can assure you, I didn’t and I wasn't. I had no trauma, no bills, no responsibilities and obviously no perspective. What I did have back then was entirely too much free time. Clearly.
But the funny thing about finding those diary entries is how it made me feel about being 36. I don’t know about you, but since having my second and final child, I think a lot about the fact that time has undeniably sped up. And while I don’t feel old, I do feel the loss of youth.
But in comparison, youth was not all it cracked up to be. Youth had angst. Youth had too many uncertainties. Youth had life problems that required driving for hours while looping the soundtrack to Reality Bites on her discman. And, geez, with the rising gas prices, I don’t think I can afford to be so youthful these days.
So, I think I’m good with 36.
Mom was on me to give some sort of milestone update on my 2nd child the way I did with my first. I reminded her of the two baby books in her house. The one of my older sister with the broken binding and the pictures falling out of the overstuffed pages and mine. Mine would be the baby book with one picture in it that still creaks when you open it.
So sorry, Wesley, I’m a 2nd child too.
Wesley is 6.5 months. He’s just getting over his first bout of the flu. He’s sitting up fairly well, laughing a lot and eating some solids. He enjoys Classical music to country, red wine to white and has pinky swore that he will always take care of me. Even though I snore.
Samuel is also well, even though he says he'd be much better if he could be in charge of the house. I told him to get a job and I'd gladly turn over my bank account login info for him to get started. That would free up so much more time for me to angst about life in my diary.
Here’s a picture: