I’m not really a planner so I suppose it’s difficult for me to say that I at eighteen and nineteen years old I envisioned a particular future for myself. I wanted things, sure. But more than actions or achievements I envisioned feelings. I wanted to feel a certain way, however it might come about. I wanted the magic that is life and love to seep out of all of my actions. I knew I wanted to write novels. I knew I wanted to help people. I couldn’t tell you how. I wanted to be stable financially and eat good food. Even now it seems like I can’t see a clear path. But back then I had so much hope for myself. I really truly believed in myself and my future and everyone around me.
I was that girl with the song lyrics scrawled on her arm who carried around a notebook and constantly scribbled stories in the pages. I was that girl who made friends easier with people in other states and dreamed of one day venturing out. I was that girl who found comfort in one particular band and the culture that came with being a fan. I was that girl who easier reached out on social media websites (you know, like Livejournal and Myspace) and felt like she was part of something. I was the girl who identified with songs more than anything and with fiction second and had thoughts and characters swarming around her mind all the time. I made my own t-shirts and bought clothes because they spoke out about who I was as a person or what I liked or who I wanted to be.
Somewhere while going through my twenties I started working because I felt like I had to (okay, obviously we all have to) and resided in being unhappy wherever I turned. I spent money because I could, because it was there and because I was mostly too depressed to hold on to it. I ate food that made me feel sick. I only attracted men who were emotionally unavailable or unstable or wanting something unnamed and open. I wore clothes because they fit and they looked okay and there wasn’t much else of an option.
Then one day I woke up. Waking up is not one of those things that always helps. I know this because for me, even though I was awake and looking at my life with a different perspective I still felt depressed and hopeless and sad about where I was. The thing about crawling out of complacency is that happens to you. You also can have a tendency to fall back asleep. You can tell yourself to forget what you want because this is the “real world” and you need to “grow up” and “be responsible” and this is how it all happens.
Well yeah, you do need to grow up and be responsible. But growing up doesn’t equate to giving up, it doesn’t mean you have to forget your dreams and it doesn’t mean you need to become what society thing you need to become. It doesn’t mean you have to have a full time job with all of the benefits, you don’t need to be looking for your future husband or thinking about your nonexistent children’s names. It can mean those things, sure. It doesn’t mean you need to have a 401k and buy a house and have a car payment, either. Not unless that’s what you want for yourself. I guess that’s the point. Growing up means you can pick and chose what you want for yourself and how you get there. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, sure. That doesn’t mean you always have to do everything you don’t want to do.
One thought that really shakes me is when I think that my 18 year old self would be disappointed in who I am today.
I would like to be able to look into the future and be proud of myself and know I’ve done something awesome or worthy or exactly what I want. And I know that 18 year old me doesn’t see that in me. She’s excited about a few things I have done, experiences I’ve made possible for myself. She’s also disappointed that I stopped making novel writing a priority (I mean, I often to forget to list myself as a writer, even when I’m just talking to myself). Eighteen year old me wants me to find ways to incorporate myself into my style, she wants me to finish the damn novel I’ve been “working on” for four years. She wants me to take advantage of the things around me, use the tools I’ve found/ learned/ bought// acquired. She wants me to keep believing, to keep dancing and to find the actual way to health. She wants me to build my community of friends, attract men who are good for me and to never stop using glitter nail polish (as much as it’s a pain to take off). She wants me to actually listen to music more often, spend more time dreaming and do more.
Is your younger self proud of who you are today?