Before I got up to exercise today, I had been reading a few blogs. One of them mentioned a song off a CD I bought back in 1999. I was laced with the desire to hear it again.
I turned 16 in 1999. To me, this CD speaks of my first year in college. That first opening of the world, finding all the choices in my hands. Believing that I could do anything (well, anything except play a sport on any level other than recreational – being 5’2 and not especially athletic does come with some reality checks). Discovering that I could be that good at any intellectual endeavor I turned my hand to.
It’s an almost painful memory, because of how different life is now. I carried overloads more semesters than not as an undergrad. I stayed up until 3 in the morning talking to friends all around the world. I was incandescently intense. And my idealism was boundless. I threw myself into Amnesty International, swing dancing, a small club that did volunteering on a mostly local scale. I was a Salvation Army bellringer at Christmas, and I didn’t just stand there ringing the bell, I sang Christmas carols. I was finding my voice in writing, and training it in singing. I was also finding my eye for creating clothing and costumes.
My intensity is somewhat tempered now; the result of not being a teenager anymore, I suppose (fortunately, that includes my temper, which burned very hot back then). My idealism, as well, though not my determination to do something GOOD with myself. My love for music and dance still burn bright. My ability to volunteer and take heavy courseloads is much abridged by my disability. And my creativity has found an enormous array of outlets, to the point where I could keep myself busy for months with nothing more than them. Instead of the wildfire of a relationship that knew no rhyme or reason, I have the warmth and tenderness of finding someone who balances and complements me.
I am not who I was. I am so different that it is hard to wrap my mind around who I was. I like to think I am wiser. I’m not sure. I am still, and probably always will be, someone who is not a ‘popular person’. But I am gregarious and friendly, and if I am not especially close with many people, I do at least have a few friends I would trust at my back and a great number of acquaintences to keep me busy. I like to think that my pride has changed from that huberus of discovering how easy things are for me to a pride that is based on my accomplishments and my choices.
So, who were you a decade ago? How does who you are now compare to who you were then?