Monday, April 22, 2013

20 years...WTF?

This June I will have been out of high school for 20 years. Wow. I am astonished, but at the same time - not. I think everyone thinks of themselves in their mind's eye as younger than their chronological age. Really. I have never met a single person who says, "Oh yeah, I am (insert age here) and I totally feel comfortable in my own skin, I look like I am (age), and I feel like I am (age) Ahhh."

OK...maybe if you are the Dali Lama or some other enlightened soul (Tom Cruise-this does not apply to you--you are a complete freaking whak-a-doo).

20 years...who was that kid? She was an asshole. She was self absorbed. She wanted all the good things in life, but didn't want to work for them. She didn't take the time to cherish her family; all she wanted to do was escape them. She made very bad decisions and was very lucky to come out alive on the other side. She was stubborn (even more so than now ;-)). Ultimately, she thought she knew better than anyone else who she was and how the world worked. She was wrong.

20 years...who am I now? I guess I am still all of those things. No one will ever escape their past and the decisions that form them. I hope I am the smallest fractions of those negative characteristics possible. I guess the single most important thing that started my transformation is meeting my husband. When we met, I was 29 and he was 23. He had more compassion, patience, and kindness at his young age than anyone I had ever met. I spent my entire 20s wrapped in a cloud of self-depreciation and being a self proclaimed martyr. He showed me it is ok to trust people, to be kind, and life doesn't have to be torturous.

Reflection is painful. Acceptance is strength. Learning is power. 

Bla bla bla. Where does that bring us? Recently, I have gotten a lot of Facebook friend requests from people I knew in high school. Why? Why do they want to be friends with me on Facebook? Stalking? Genuine friendship? To see what that asshole girl did with her life? Is she still an asshole? Is she fat? Are they trying to connect with their 18 year old self? Are they seeking reflection? Acceptance? Knowledge? 

Whatever their reason is, I am glad they reached out. It has given me pause to think about that 18 year old girl. Mourn her and embrace the 38 year old woman I am trying to become.

Taking a break from riding my bike on the IM Wisconsin bike course w/ my friend Meredith
Hiking in Idaho

After my first (and last) road biking race in Tennessee