Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lucky Seven

Dear Previous Self,

I’m writing you today to inform you that I have changed. Specifically, I’m a different person now than I was seven years ago.

My mom often tells me that the collective “they” say that a person significantly changes every seven years. A quick Google search reveals conflicting information as to whether this is an accurate statement. The only somewhat convincing piece of literature I found is from 1965, and as a Developmental Editor by day, I know that citation is too old to matter in 2008. Still, from personal experience, I know that I am a much different person than I was seven years ago.

Seven years ago I was insecure. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get a boyfriend. It was an almost two-year dry spell. I was dating a lot, but all the guys were losers; a hippie I had an English class with, a mormon who was looking for a second wife, and two guys who went AWOL from the Navy.

Seven years ago I was a bad ass. My bad-assery was a poor attempt to hide the sadness of rejection I put myself in a position to feel almost daily. Even I didn’t like my harsh exterior, but at this time I didn’t have a clue of how to go about changing that.

Seven years ago I had different goals and dreams. I thought I wanted to be a part of the corporate world – that I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. I wanted to get married one day. I maybe wanted to have kids one day.

Seven years ago I was still Agnostic. I always was skeptical of any one god or divine being, but I still believed in something.

Seven years ago I had just taken the leap to live by myself and on my own. I felt it was something I needed to experience, and this quite possibly marks the beginning of the upswing. The beginning of all the outside factors that have transformed me into who I am right now. Today, seven years ago, I reluctantly went on my first date with J.

Over the last seven years, I’ve learned a lot about who I’ve wanted to be, and although the progress was slow at first, I have moved toward that.

Different things happened that enabled me to become more secure about myself (and less of a bad ass). I remember J telling me he thought I was cool, because I had a “real job” and lived by myself. I had never thought about myself that way before. As time went on other things helped me become less insecure: new jobs, roller derby, and the death of my dad, as strange as that sounds.

In the meantime, I learned to let down my guard and be honest with people instead of putting up a front. This helped me be honest with myself and has had many implications in the past seven years.

My dreams changed. I went from wanting to be part of the machine to wanting to control my own smaller machine. In a way, the machine is my life, and I decided I wanted control. I want to be the person in charge of my future. I learned to listen to myself and what I wanted. I realized that kids weren’t in the picture for now or the foreseeable future (I like playing with my machine better). It took more time for me to shed the dream of marriage, but I finally came to the realization that marriage is but a state of mind, not something sanctioned by the government, and I could be married at any time I wanted to. Perhaps I already was.

The most difficult thing for me to get a handle on has been spirituality. I desperately want to have it in some manner, but I’m impatient on getting it. I went from blind faith prior to seven years ago to practicality (Athiesm) and I’ve landed somewhere in the middle, where I’m not comfortable even labeling what I believe, because I know it’s changed so much over time. I’m open to there being something, but the only glimpses I’ve gotten of it have been ordinary.

I lived by myself for 2 years, and 5 years ago I bought the house I live in now with J. Living with someone else you’re in a relationship with presents you with a different way of thinking than you have to perform when you live alone or with a roommate. Concessions have to be made. You have to get to know yourself better to know what’s really important to you – what’s worth standing up for and what really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things (a perfectly clean and de-cluttered house).

Throughout the past seven years J has been the one constant – he’s been along for the ride with me and me with him. No doubt he’s also a different person now than he was seven years ago. Hopefully he attributes as much of his growth to me as I attribute my growth to him. At times when felt insecure, he let me borrow some of his security. At times when I was scared, he let me borrow some of his courage. And at times when I was happy, he shared in that, which made those times even happier.

So, my former self, I just wanted to remind you to keep looking forward. The past seven years have been a rollercoaster ride, but rollercoasters are fun. Keep that attitude, and hopefully when we speak again in seven years we’ll feel the same way – or even better.



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