Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 31. Sometimes I forget how old I am.
Twenty-one year old me imagined a much simpler life for herself. She dreamed of traveling, but couldn’t really picture herself getting off a plane in a foreign country. Her thoughts were about what to wear on a night out with her friends and working hard to become a teacher. She knew nothing except for the life of a student. It never occurred to her that she would become passionate about yoga, kiss many frogs and discover that she truly and deeply loves her life. She hoped for it, but she didn’t have a clue about how wonderful it would be.
She naively didn’t imagine the rainy days either. Those days where she felt, as I do sometimes, that everything is easier for everyone else. The moments of self-doubt and sadness. She would learn to deal.
She thought she knew everything there was to know. She had no idea she would learn that not only does she not know everything, but that it’s better that way. Imagine knowing all there is to know and going through life not learning anything, not being amazed every day by new and exciting things the world has to offer.
Twenty-one year old me was really skinny. She struggled with a 30 pound weight gain the year she finally grew a butt and got some curves. She had to get used to weighing over 100 pounds. She would learn, over time, that it’s not important how much she weighs, and she would stop weighing herself. She would not have a scale at home and she would resist the temptation to get on the scale at the gym. She will thank her mom for never having a scale in the house while she was growing up, saving her from become obsessed with her weight.
That girl I used to be had so many friends; she thought she was on top of the world. She didn’t know then what it took to be a lifelong friend. She was young and so were her friends. They grew up, but not at the same time. They grew apart, or they grew closer. Some friendships slowly trickled to happy memories while others intertwined like the branches of two trees growing so close together, you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.
She was a happy, positive person and I’m glad that part of her is still around. The shy, sometimes awkward girl, I don’t miss as much. I appreciate what she taught me, but there is no need for her anymore. She used to admire outgoing people who took advantage of life’s amazing opportunities, but she held back from going after what she wanted. I am still in awe of the fact that I became that person I admired— most days anyway. I am still a work in progress.
My life is nothing like she imagined it to be. It’s better. Every day is not rainbows and candy canes, but the difference between now and then is that I can appreciate the good so much more now that I can compare it to the greyer, rainier moments.
The title of this post is from a song by Jewel, my favorite singer. I remember first hearing it a few years ago and wondering if I would feel that way when I turned 31. Well, I do. It’s not the end, that’s for sure! But when I look back to who I used to be, it’s not the beginning either.
Manon Newberry is a teacher, yogi and writer living in Québec, Canada. She likes to read, dance and travel. She loves trying new things, then blogging about it over at theblissprojectblog.wordpress.com.
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Ed: B. Bemel