What Would Yourself From 20 Years Ago Think About Your Life Now?

I was recently posed the question, “If you had to meet yourself from twenty years ago, what would past-you think of current-you?” I thought it would make for an interesting post.

This is the only photo I have in my possession from my childhood. I took it from an award I won, dated April 11, 1994, but the photo was probably taken in the Autumn of 1993. This is what happens when a grown man tries to do a little girl's hair with no instructions.
This is the only photo I have in my possession from my childhood. I took it from an award I won, dated April 11, 1994, but the photo was probably taken in the Autumn of 1993. This is what happens when a grown man tries to do a little girl’s hair with no instructions.

The hard part is that 20 years ago was one of the most difficult times of my life for me to remember. In 1994 I was 7 years old, I was in 2nd grade, and I can’t remember where I was living. I know toward end of that year I was living in Maryland in a men’s shelter with my dad and my brother and that by Christmas time we were living with my Aunt Kathy, but living in Maryland was not a good time in my life, even before my mother kicked us out of the apartment we had been living in, so I think I may have repressed some of it. I know we moved to Maryland about 3 months before Thanksgiving, but I only know that from the court documents from my parents’ reopened custody battle. Before that we lived in Ogden, and my dad dated a series of progressively crazier women named Debbie.

But I digress, the question isn’t “Who were you 20 years ago?” If I were to meet 7-year-old-me and tell her about my life I think she’d be pretty happy with how things turned out, so far at least.

I think she’d be shocked at the amount of money I have, in fact I know she would be because I’m still shocked by it on a daily basis. And it really isn’t all that much money, but all my bills are paid, I have barely any debt and I don’t worry about if I have enough money to buy groceries in any given week. 7-year-old-me was constantly worried about money, which is not a good thing, especially since you can’t really do anything about it when you’re 7. To this day I find myself overthinking finances, I feel guilty if I spend even a few dollars on something that I don’t need to survive. If Les isn’t in the store with me, I either won’t buy it or will feel terrible about buying it. Along the same line, I think past-me would be pretty excited about having a financial cushion, I don’t have  ton of savings, but I have some, and credit cards that can be used in case of an emergency. My dad didn’t have a credit card until I had already moved out of the house, and he often didn’t have a job. When we ran out of money, it was gone, and we rarely had just in case money.

I also think past-me would be pretty happy about my many animals and lack of babies. Even as a young child I loved animals and at 7 I was pretty ambivalent about babies. But even though I never wanted kids, I did want to get married when I was older, so I think past me would be pretty happy about the fact that I’m married, and to someone I’ve been with for almost 10 years no less.

I was a very girly girl when I was younger, I didn’t love pink, but I went through several years of wearing only skirts and I’ve never been big on dirt and yucky things, unfortunately I was being raised by a single father and I only had a brother that I didn’t really get along with. I really wanted a sister to talk about girly things with and to do sisterly things with, and since I knew I wasn’t going to get one I always imagined I would marry into a big family and get a sister that way. So I think 7-year-old-me would probably be disappointed when I told her that I now have a step-sister and 4 sisters-in-law, but that I have next to nothing in common with any of them and we don’t do sisterly things together or talk all that often. And I’m not sure if a 7-year-old would understand if I explained that my sisters-in-law are all obsessed with babies and a horribly misogynistic religion that consumes their entire lives, or that my step-sister listens to country music and drives a penis truck (I know for a fact that I didn’t even understand what religion was at that age, that I had very little experience with music that wasn’t classic rock, I may have understood that the truck was ridiculous but I probably wouldn’t understand what it had to do with penises).

I’ve moved around as much as an adult as I did as a kid, but I enjoy it quite a bit more now. I think past-me would be pretty upset that I’m not more stable, I craved stability at that age and I didn’t get it until several years later. In hindsight stability isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but I understand how hard my choice of lifestyle is on a child and it just gives me yet another reason not to procreate.

In terms of the little things that kids think about, 7-year-old-me would probably be pretty happy that I still have long hair (or rather have long hair again, but I wouldn’t know about the terrible haircut coming my way in the next few years). I also wanted glasses at that age, I’m not sure why, but I remember wanting them, so my past-self would probably like that I change my glasses based on my outfit, but not the fact that I’m probably going to end up blind at a relatively young age. I know past-me would be boggled at my closet, I hardly ever wear skirts anymore, but 7-year-old-me didn’t have to worry about shaving her legs no longer than 12 hours before wearing a skirt.

I think my younger-self would be a little boggled by my life, and that’s not even mentioning things like smartphones and computers, but overall I think she’d be pretty happy with how things turned out…so far at least.


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