I have kept journals since I was about fourteen years old. When I was a teenager I discovered the amusing diversion of looking at an entry written the year before. I would usually chuckle at my previous immaturity and experience disbelief that I could ever have a crush on HIM or that I wasted so much time in THAT drama, etc. I would write a new entry with my newfound experience and wisdom of knowledge from another year of life, only to inescapably fall into the same scenario another year into the future.
I still find myself doing it, reading about how life was two years ago when Faith was about 8 months old, the age that James is now. I compare their milestones or remember some little funny thing that she did at that time that has slipped from my mind. I try to recall things that I didn’t write down like my eating habits or just how I lost all that weight so easily, or what my daily routine was. I try to fill in all the blanks, and sometimes I try to forget.
Then I go back a little further and remember how life was five years ago. Most likely I would come home from my professional job where I wore nice clothes and heels and go straight to the fridge where I would grab a cold beer before I even changed out of my clothes, and then Jeff and I would sit on the back deck for hours exchanging bits of gossip and then as the hours wore on and we became more inebriated the conversation would shift to who was a better lyricist, James Hetfield or Axl Rose? Occasionally we would go out to eat where we would eat and drink with no thought to the amount we were spending and then tipsily walk over to Target where we would wander the aisles until the buzz wore off, accumulating more unnecessary stuff and more debt. I had all the time in the world then, time to read or paint my toenails, time to spend on the phone with friends and time to exercise, but back then I thought I had no time at all.
If I do the same game of compare and contrast, then I think the girl I was five years ago would never imagine the person I am today. I spend all day with two young children, wearing t-shirts and cut-off shorts, Jeff and I no longer spend our marriage as drinking buddies, we don’t go crazy spending the money like we used to and we are just so undeniably different in every way that it feels like the people we were five years ago are like characters in some movie that we watched or book that we read. Of course sometimes the nostalgia of days gone by takes over and I remember fondly our silly and drunken conversations, but I am happier that those times are past. Time has a value to me now that I couldn’t have imagined before. So does marriage, for that matter. Things that held such importance are not even a factor in my life anymore. A million little lessons have been learned without me even knowing I was learning them.
I wonder what I will think a year from now.