The Person I Used to Be Came for a Visit
And I realized a reevaluation was in order
I’m 58. At this age, I’m feeling comfortable. Comfortable with who I am, where I am, what I stand for and what I can no longer accept. My life moves forward at a pleasant pace with sufficient variation to make it interesting and challenging but with enough familiarity for tranquility to form roots.
I feel young enough and old enough at the same time. Smart enough but still curious. Kind enough but with the good sense to speak up when I have to.
Then I get a visit from a distant relative. My husband and I pick her up at the Greyhound station. From the moment she steps into our car I know her. Even though we’ve never met. She is me. Me, almost four decades earlier. Her energy, her mannerisms, and her curiosity. Me, me, me.
She stays for four days. And during that time I’m reminded of what I used to be like. But I also realize that the person I’m slowly turning back in to still feels familiar. We still have a lot in common.
At 19 I was just like her. At that age, there was no distinction between dreams and plans. Dream it. Do it. Done. Repeat.
When I was her age, the rewards almost always outweighed the risks. Falls, even those from swindling heights, had few consequences. There was time for do-overs, for u-turns, for repeats and plan changes.
But at 19 certain issues took hold and wouldn’t fade. Without the perspective that only comes with age, certain setbacks had a tendency to linger longer than they ought to. Back then there was no inner voice telling me that this too shall pass, telling me that whatever worries blanketed my mind would slowly dissolve. No, time doesn’t heal all wounds. But time lets new experiences enter, giving existing worries some loving company.
Then I settle down. I become a mother. That had always been my ultimate dream and I love every minute of it. Almost every minute of it. I became responsible and practical.
But in the blink of an eye, my children leave our home to pursue their own dreams. They call it an empty nest for a reason. It’s empty. And it’s sad. It leaves a lot of time for wishing I could do it all over: “Please come back. I know what I’m doing…