What if you woke up one morning and you couldn’t remember the last ten years of your life? What things would be different? If you could show the ten-years-ago-self your life now, would you be surprised by your life choices?
I read a book (What Alice Forgot) recently where that happened to the main character after a head injury, and it got me thinking HOW different I am now from ten years ago. In the book the main character is a successful, fast paced, driven woman who is a coffee and workout-addict, has kids and is on the verge of divorce. But ten years earlier, she was a newly married, deeply in love, very relaxed woman who never drank coffee and was admittedly overweight. It was such an interesting dilemma for her- she’s the same person, but SO different. So when she sees her soon-to-be ex-husband, she treats him like she used to ten years ago, even though they are now going through a nasty divorce.
It brought up some interesting thoughts. My life is vastly different now than it was ten years ago. Ten years ago I was working in the financial industry, going through a very rough time personally which had changed me into a pretty dependent and quiet sort of person (I know- you can’t imagine this). I lived in a different city, and relied solely on my faith to get me through hard times and guide me with my daily decisions. I was a very naive girl who trusted too easily and wanted to please everyone.
If you would have shown me then who I am now, I would have laughed and thought you were crazy.
Fast forward ten years and I feel like I’m so much happier and much more well rounded. I’ve lost pretty much all of that naiveté, which is up for debate if that’s a good or bad thing. I went through two major life changes that almost broke me. But going through those two things made me into a much stronger person. I’m completely comfortable with myself and my beliefs. I know who my friends are. I don’t take crap from anyone. I let things go more easily. I’m accepting of everyone as they are. I’m clear on what I want out of life and whats important to me. I’m humbly grateful for the family I’ve been blessed with. I have goals that stretch me as a person and keep kicking me out of my comfort zone. I’m much more independent and assertive, which is the one thing I wish I could go back and infuse into my 10-years-ago bruised psyche.
I didn’t know I would have a kick-ass husband, lovely step-daughters, the coolest son ever and amazing friends. I also didn’t know I would have to go through infertility to get to my kiddo. I had no idea ten years ago that I would write a book. If only I could have known that everything was going to work out and that I would be so happy. I wish I could somehow slip myself a note from the future to say, “Hang in there- everything gets so much better.” I also wish I could somehow infuse this into the minds of struggling younger people everywhere. There’s so much to life- even with all the hardships and complexities- there’s so much to look forward to.
The other thing I that this book made me think about is how we treat people around us over time. Do we get too complacent with people that are close to us and drive them away? In that book, she treats her almost ex-husband with so much adoration because she’s thinking how she did ten years ago, which totally throws him for a loop. She also tries to reach out to friends who she’d lost tough with and realizes that she’s alienated her sister as well. It made me wonder if I treat my family or friends differently than I used to back then? And if its different… is it better or worse? And why has it changed?
Some very interesting and thought provoking questions. Are you pretty much the same person now as the one you used to be? Or are you like me, in that your life is totally different than you imagined? Do you have regrets? Things you wish you could have known? Or maybe your life is so much better than you ever thought it could be.
This also makes me wonder what my future ten-years-older self would say to me now… guess I’ll just have to wait and see.