Often times it’s easy to forget how much we’ve changed. We are in our own little bubble of gradual adaptations over time. So gradual, in fact, that we can go 6 years without thinking anything is different…until we see our past self.
I recently rediscovered my highschool blog. As such, I’ve decided it will make a great reflecting tool for the day! Here goes:
Then Dad asked “so why haven’t you decided where you want to go [to college]? we think you’re waiting because of us. If you know where you want to go, tell us!” Of course they knew what my answer would be before I even said it, but I said “okay, I want to go to Meredith!” It felt so good to finally say it aloud, because I’d known for a while that that was my decision.
Today: Looking back it’s hard to believe I ever doubted this decision. In this blog moment in time I didn’t doubt it, but trust me there were weeks of indecision leading up to this point. Meredith shaped me into a student, athlete, friend, sister, daughter, and leader in ways that no other school could have. I went to a college where being a female professional in ANY field was celebrated and not questioned. I was surrounded by the bright future female leaders, and they pushed me to levels I never thought I’d reach. Six years later, I can’t imagine having chose anywhere else for college.
You know, playing in the rain at midnight has to be one of the coolest things I’ve done…I changed into some old clothes, ran out onto the deck and proceeded to dance around in the rain.
Today: Some things just DON’T change, because, let’s face it, running in the rain is STILL awesome. Rain has always been so cleansing in my life. It brings about a contemplative, pensive side of me that I rarely explore. It also has a way of exacerbating whatever emotions are coursing through me at the time. Even to this day, my best runs are when it is pouring down rain outside and I’m all fired up about something. Maybe this is just me…
….I guess there is just something wrong with me–I don’t say the right things, I joke too much, I’m not serious enough. I don’t know, but whatever it is I guess I need to figure it out….
Today: Can you feel the teenage angst? No, I mean really. I think it is so thick that it’s actually tangible. Back then finding myself was one of my biggest struggles in life. I feel like as teenagers we had three very simple basic emotions and no in-betweens. We were either “sad, mad or happy.” And, in general, we were the most extreme forms of each emotion. If something good happened, it was actually “the best thing ever,” and, conversely, when we were grounded, life as we knew it had indeed “ended“. We hated and loved, but never just liked. Sadly, we extended these extremist emotions to our own self image as well. It’s hard to read the words of a confused teenager trying to find her place in the world–and it’s even harder to know that they are words that I typed. Angst doesn’t just disappear when we are adults. It’s still there as we try and define ourselves, but we no longer see life in extremes. There is black and white, but also shades of gray. Thank goodness for the gray….
I told my friend tonight that I quit basketball and she was like “what? but that’s what you do!” I talk about it all the time, and I play it all the time, so I guess it is “what I do”, and it will always be “what I love,” but from now on, it won’t be the defining thing about me.
Today: Wow. I’m pretty proud of past Mary for this astute observation. Granted, Junior year in college I had to rediscover this same truth a second time as I let go of college basketball, but hey, still a good decision. I think too many people define themselves by what they do rather than who they are. We become “the jock”, “the cheerleader,” “the nerd” instead of just being loyal, trustworthy, loving. Society supports this “success through action” by pitting us against each other via rewards, bonuses and trophies for those who rise above. Don’t get me wrong, I still strive for professional and personal achievements that are measurable, but I now also realize that while these milestones are admirable, they do not define me as a person.
There are plenty more excerpts I could select and paste in, but I think I’ve delved enough into who I used to be. It’s good to know where we’ve come from. I truly believe that knowledge helps us push even farther forward. I’ll leave you with this:
“I want to make a change,
but I want to be myself.
I want to be myself
and help someone else–
Because of where I’ve been
and because of what I know,
because of where I’m going
and because I know I’ll go.
If I can help one person,
just because I’m me
I know that I’m finally
the person I want to be.”