Sunday, October 15, 2006

Looking into the future of the little girl I once was...

When I was a young girl I was obsessed with the thought of what I would be like when I was older.
[I'm sure I was not alone. Every girl, every boy I'm sure, every body wonders this at some point in their childhood. It's a natural thing to wonder.]

I'm not talking obsessed as in that's all I thought about day and night. Nor am I saying I tried to be older than I was. I was, am, and always will be proud of my youth and my youthful outlook on life. Perhaps fascinated is a better word.

Because I was. Fascinated. I was fascinated with what I would look like, how I would act, what would change about me, what I didn't want to change about me, what I would do with myself, who my friends would be, what my job would be, where I would live. I used to think about the whole package and wonder with all my little might who and what I would someday become.

I'd look in the mirror and wonder what parts of my face would change as it matured into a woman's face. I knew well enough that I'd always look like "me," but I also knew that certain parts would look older, would mature with time, would take on a more adult-like appearance. I'd examine my features in the mirror and try to imagine them shifted into an older person's face. Sort of like my imagination's version of the computer aging models that police stations use when trying to find a suspect or a long lost child or something.

I'd try to imagine what I'd wear as a woman in the work-world. What would my job be? Would I like it? Of course it'd be a job where I made lots of money, but I truly hoped it would be a job that I loved. (And really, I my little brain pretty much decided at the time that it would have to be a job I loved or I wouldn't dream of taking that job.)

I'd spend hours wondering who my husband would be. I'd try to imagine his face. Try to think of what he would say to me. What would his job be like? What would our children look like? What would our house be like, and where would we live? And let me tell you, I got pretty detailed in my imaginings. It changed day-by-day, year-by-year, but I could have drawn the blueprints of my house. I could have sketched portraits of my husband and children (granted, I'm not a portrait-artist, so they wouldn't have looked nearly as good as they did in my head). I could have written transcripts of imagined conversations we'd have. But I knew that those were all in my imagination. I wanted to know what the real stuff would be like.

As I became more aware of the world full of adults of varying ages, styles, cultures, customs, and stations in life, I began to wonder where I'd eventually fit in to that world.

It's funny - now I'm actually the adult I've always wondered about. I have the yet youthful, but definitely matured adult features in my face (down to a few tiny wrinkles forming under my eyes). I have a job. I have a life of my own. I have my friends. I have my habits and my hobbies. I have become the person I always wanted to know so much about when I was little. And as I was trying to fall asleep tonight, I was struck by this thought. I've reached a checkpoint on the road of my life as defined by the little girl I once was. I'm a young woman, living an adult life, in an adult world, fending for herself and living independently. I'm creating the reality I'd always tried to imagine in my girlish daydreams of old.

I can't help but wonder what that little girl would think if she knew that she'd someday be the woman I am now. Would she be excited to be living my life? Would she like who she saw staring back at her in the mirror? Would she be happy with what I've accomplished at this point in my life? Would she be sad that I'm not married with children on the way? Would she be proud of the person she was destined to become?

I feel certain she would indeed be excited to become the person I am today. I think she'd be proud of the life I've defined for myself thus far. Perhaps she'd lament the fact that there's yet no man of consequence in my life yet, but I believe she'd genuinely look forward to her future self. And I guess my only basis I have for this certainty is simply that when I look back on my life 10-15-20 years ago, I'm happy about the decisions I've made. I'm proud of the way I've handled myself - through tough situations and past mistakes. I do admit that I feel the lack of a man in my life, and that I want so badly to have someone to share my life with. But I'm sincerely happy that that want doesn't dictate how my current life is lived. I'm convinced that, though I'm far from perfect and though I may not have everything I hoped I'd have at this age, I always try to do the best I can with the hand I'm dealt. [And really, let's be honest, the part of me that wondered what my husband and children would be like hasn't left yet. It still is filled with wonder and anticipation about who that man will be and when I will meet him and how I will meet him, etc, etc, etc. And I'm kinda glad that sense of wonder hasn't left me.]

Certainly my little mind from my childhood days would not analyze quite much in depth. She'd see things in a simpler light. But I like to think that she'd smile at knowing she'd one day be me. That she'd think I was pretty, that she'd love that she would someday be a dancer, that she'd get excited about my plans for my career. I like to think that my small little self, wondering about her future, would take comfort in knowing that she'd grow up to be a successful, ambitious, caring, beautiful (inside and outside), and well-liked woman. I think she'd like my Beacon Hill sunsets, too.

[Note: this could potentially read as a way to toot my own horn and talk myself up. If so, then that's the reader's prerogative, of course. But, the way I see it, everyone needs to remind themselves what they like about themselves, and what they need to remember to see about themselves. This is, I guess, my way of reminding me that I feel like I'm on the right track and that I am indeed proud of who I've become. Because, in the end, if I'm not proud of who I am, what's the point in doing anything?]

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