A while back, a few close friends started wondering out loud what their childhood selves would think of them now. Which, of course, got me thinking back to 12 year-old me.
I never had a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. The adult world made very little sense to me; I simply had no context for it, preferring to spend my time in the wilds of my imagination. I knew I wouldn’t follow in my mother’s footsteps, working with children on the autism spectrum. I had a feeling that dad’s world, management in the heavy machinery industry, was equally not for me. I think I wanted to travel. I think I found peace in writing. I definitely found comfort in the internet.
Yeah, we had the internet back in the year 2000. It was slow, everything was pixelated, and you got kicked offline if anyone picked up the telephone.
When my friends first mused out loud about their past selves’ approval, I thought that my little self would find my current self vaguely confusing. You do what? she would say, wrinkling her nose.
But I thought about it some more, ruminating through the evening as I went about the rhythm of my night. Of course the 12 year-old would be confused. Social media wasn’t a thing back then. My current job simply did not exist back in that day. But also, work didn’t really mean anything to that girl. Not yet, at least. So I changed the scenario in my mind.
Hi Liz. Your job is skiing. You spend all day talking about the thing you love most in the world to people who also love it. You get out on the mountain multiple times a week. On your days off, you’re usually at the mountain anyway. You write every day. It’s hard work, but it’s not a labor. You live in your favorite state, the place you’ve loved your whole life.
But more importantly, Liz, you’re happier and more connected than you ever thought you would be. You found your friends. The people who understand and love you. The people who share their lives with you just as you share yourself with them. That’s realy, really precious.
By the way – you should start watching Doctor Who sooner rather than later. I know the premise is totally hokey, but trust me. You’ll really like it. Also: your hair. Stop doing that to it. Just. Grow it out for god’s sake; You look like an idiot.
Happy 2014 to you – and to the person you used to be.