Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ten Years Ago...

I was planning on writing a post on my 46th birthday but couldn't come up with a theme.  Today when I was listening to a Jason Isbell song on my way home from renewing my driver's license, an idea came to me. 

Here's the line that caught my attention:

"Ten years ago I might have thought I didn't have the right/ To say the things an outlaw wouldn't say, but those were different days."

Ten years ago is the perfect amount to look back if you want to see how things have changed.  Those were different days.  So I'm going to dial it back 10 years a few times.

At 36, I had been married for four years, was a mother to a one year old and a three year old, and a full time teacher.  What would I tell my 36 year old self now?  "All the time spent with your kids now is worth it. I know you think you already know this, but they really won't be this little forever."

At 26, I was a second year teacher in Flossmoor, Illinois.  I was working on my thesis for my Master's Degree and living alone on the top floor of a bungalow house.  I got my first dog that summer.  I felt I was behind everyone who was getting married and having kids because I so badly wanted those things for myself.  I had a lot of time on my hands and was very lonely. My life seemed to be on pause. What would I tell my 26 year old now?  "There's still plenty of time for you.  Your best days are yet to come. Enjoy yourself more.  Don't give up on your writing."

At 16, I had my first real boyfriend.  I wanted to be a writer.  I hated high school, but I did have good friends.   I couldn't wait to get out and live my "real life" somewhere else. I wrote all the time.  I started working at my aunt's daycare and loved being around those little kids.  What would I tell that 16 year old girl now?   "Learn how to play the guitar now like you've always wanted to. Keep writing. You're only just figuring out who you want to be, but you're on the right track.  And it's okay to let people see your vulnerable side. "

At 6, I was the quietest one in kindergarten.  I liked to read.  Stories were my favorite thing.  What would I tell that 6 year old?  "It's okay that you're quiet. You've got a strong voice when you need it.  Keep watching and listening and reading. You know who you are."

I really do think we know who we are at six.  You just have to learn it all over again for some reason.