Who I Used to Be (17 Again)

For some reason lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought about who I used to be. Maybe it’s because I ran into two old friends of mine from when I was younger, or maybe it’s because I’ve started doing a little bit of writing again (aka this blog). I have come to the conclusion that I have changed radically.

Now I understand that it’s normal to grow and change, and even the fact that change is necessary. However, there are some things about me that have changed that I wish I could have kept the same. Maybe all of this reflection on the past can be a good thing. Maybe I can step back and look at the me that I am today and reconsider if this is who I really want to be. Maybe I should be a mixture of the good from before and the good now and blend both parts together until I am true to myself again. In other words…….I think it’s time for change again.

For some reason all of this remembering and wishfulness is taking me back to the year that I was 17. The year of second loves, second chances, graduation, and first jobs. I don’t know why I wish I was 17 again. Maybe it was because I was in much better shape physically, or without the health issues that I recently had going on…

But I think that it’s really because of the freedom. Seventeen was the first year that I showed real independence from my mother and started making my mark on the world (and somehow by now I thought that mark would be much larger). It was the year that things started happening for me, but I also had loads of free time to do what ever I wanted. I thought I was wise, but I held so much innocence then and had a lot more trust for my fellow humans.

Now my days are full of being a Mom. That means no more freedom….. It doesn’t seem fair that when I had all of that free time, I didn’t know how much I should have appreciated it. I love my kids, and I wouldn’t change being a mom for anything, but sometimes I just remember what it used to be like to sit down and finish a novel in a day. Now it takes me about a month to finish a novel. I miss my reading. I’m an avid bookworm, and I used to snatch up books like some girls snatched up designer purses. Now I have a dusty bookshelf with novels that I haven’t read. I want to try to find more time for reading.

Now back to the things about the young me that are no longer, the things I’d like to strive to have again. I used to smile more and have more patience. Now patience is rare and I have to constantly remind myself not to be so impatient. Especially with my four year old. I used to savor the moment and live in it. I used to go for walks and long drives and think about things important to me. Now I rush to get things done, and even when I’m not rushing it seems like I’m so exhausted that I don’t take the time to look around and savor what I have. I need to appreciate more and to be present in the moment instead of watching it go by.

I used to write. When I was 17 I wrote poetry almost everyday. I even won the young writer’s contest at my school. I also used to write for the school paper. I have a whole notebook full and various other poems scattered around. I don’t do that anymore and I find this sad. Poetry and writing in a journal used to be how I made sense of the world. How I got my emotions out and processed my days. Now I think I let things simmer until I explode, I hold more in now than I used to. The same is true with telling people how I feel…I used to do so freely.

At 17 I was confident that I would be an author and have several novels published. I even wrote short stories back then and started the occasional novel (never to be finished of course). I don’t write anymore and perhaps the saddest thing of all is that I seem to have given up my life-long dream of being a published author. I want to write again. I want to start another novel, fully confident that I will finish it and that others will like it too. I no longer seem to possess this confidience and that deflates me. I want to believe in myself again.

As a teen I fell hard. I leaped into love without restraint. Now I love, but a small portion of me stays on guard always. Afraid to get hurt again, afraid to set myself up to feel that much pain again. Yet another way that I used to be free…

I want to feel that free again. I want to feel that the world holds good things and that anything is possible. I want to enjoy my days instead of going through the motions. I want to dance in the rain again. I want all the things that I had then and the wisdom I have now to know how to enjoy it instead of remembering what used to be. I want to take this freedom and teach it to my children. Show them that in a world full of crime and hate that there is still beauty and things worth going after. That sometimes the simplist things are the best things of all.

I want to wake up and remind myself each day to be free again. I need to tell myself that memories are to be cherished, true friends should be held onto, family is also your friends, words whether you are reading them or writing them are magic, rain is cleansing, truth is gold, music should be danced to, hugs should be given at every opportunity, and learning new things will take you places.

I had great times when I was 17. I also got hurt a lot, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d do it again, and…..I think I’ll dye my hair purple again.