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.
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.