I would like to start off by saying, I know am not old. I am smack-dab in the middle of my twenties. The prime of my life. Whatever. You know what I have found? Gray hairs. Really more like white hairs. Multiple ones on different areas of my head. It’s all down hill from here. Since my daughter was born, I also have one stubborn hair that grows on my chin. I figured it would go away when my postpartum hormones evened out, but no. It’s still there. I pluck it periodically but sooner or later it always rears its ugly head again. I know these things don’t make me old, but they certainly don’t make me feel youthful and vibrant either.
I have found myself thinking about my younger years (as I pluck yet another white hair from my head). I have gone back and looked at pictures and relived many moments from my past. I’m not trying to be a dweller, though. I think it’s kind of annoying when people dwell too much in their past. But past Emily was sometimes cool. I think as I age, I often forget the things that made those years of youth so memorable.
Like my attitude. Some people would call me naive. Others chose to describe me as annoying. Perhaps overly-optimistic could work as well. This did end up getting me into some difficult relationship situations, because I tried to see the good in people and I wanted them to realize the potential I saw. I had good intentions, but those just ended up helping me pave the road to hell. Despite the challenges, I miss being that stupidly positive, because while it didn’t always work in my favor, I could always find a way out of the darkness. I could always find something to cheer me up, because I could see the good that was around me.
(Who even is this purple-haired weirdo… and how can I be her?)
This positive attitude contributed a lot to the way I felt about life. I loved life when I was younger. I felt like I had a zest for it. I loved going on adventures, whether they were big or small. I loved laying outside in a field and looking at the stars. I loved sneaking to playgrounds in the night with my friends and swinging on the swings to feel the cool night breeze on my face. I loved driving with the windows down and the music turned up. I loved singing and dancing like an idiot. Life was a thrill and every emotion and feeling just seemed important. Nothing seemed too big. I could be crazy and silly and it didn’t matter. Guys, on multiple occasions I did Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE! Although I hadn’t fully developed into a complete person yet, I was so much less afraid to be who I was in the moment. I have actually retreated into my shell as I’ve gotten older.
(Dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite for “Character Day” in high school. Why was I so cool?!)
I guess I mostly miss the anticipation. Every decision had the potential to be life changing. Every person I met could become my new best friend. Every budding relationship and every first kiss could possibly be my last. Every moment was special, because every moment was bringing my future nearer. Now I have the future I always imagined. I’m married to a kind and good man. I have a beautiful and brilliant daughter. Life isn’t perfect, but I have everything I could want. Except that optimism, zest, and potential. I think I somehow lost those along the way. I have a lot of future ahead of me, and probably more life-changing decisions than I can imagine now. But the thrill for the future that I felt as a youth, well, I can’t seem to recapture that.
In the bigger picture, my youth wasn’t really that great, but there were a lot of things about those years that I wish I could hold onto better.