Time changes everything, because with every second that passes we make choices. These choices carve out the future. We often tell ourselves that we will not make this choice or that choice at this age or that. However, as time passes and circumstances change, we make choices that are different to what we would have made had we been younger – or vice versa for that matter.
Having recently turned 30 (I am 31, but I think I’ll always be saying ‘recently’ for a while…), I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the last decade, what I’ve done, where I’ve been and the choices I’ve made. Have they all been the right choices? The 20’s for me have been very much a defining decade – a lot has happened. I’ve experienced a number of cross-roads. What if I had taken the other road? I wonder where my life would have been. I’ve also been asking myself, ‘Is this what I always wanted to be and achieve at 30?’. Questions…Questions – is this what turning 30 is? I thought the older you got, the more answers you have rather than questions.
So, here’s an interesting thought: What would happen if your 21 year old self were to meet the 31 year old self? I’ve often wondered how each person may feel, and what they would say to each other about the choices they have made. Would the 21 year old think that the 31 year old is still young and sexy? Would the 31 year old think that the 21 year old wasn’t ‘all that’ she thought she was at 21?
For the purpose of this blog, I have named myself 21 and 31.. Oh and they meet in some fancy cafe in some exotic city 🙂
Here is how I think the conversation might go…
21 was staring 31 down from head to toe like she was on display. It was a warm day out, and 31 had a floral dress on that was bright yellow. 21 was wearing a very dull grey top with a considerable amount of skin on show. They were both late, which is something they both still had in common.
‘Heeeyyyyy’ 21 said.
‘Heya, you ok?’
21 was puzzled. ‘Heya? What is that? And of course I am ok, do I not look ok? Do I look fat in these jeans or something?!?!’
‘Oh we live in London now, they say ‘Heya’, and ‘you ok?’ over there. It’s another way of saying ‘how you going?’ I found it strange at first and for a while always looked myself up and down to make sure I didn’t have a huge obvious stain on me!’
21’s eyes brightened up as she heard ‘London’. ‘Wow! You finally made the move you always wanted to. How is it? It must be so very exciting living in another city! You must be buying lots of clothes and going to all the best bars and clubs! What a fab life!’
‘Very!’ 31 was clearly excited to be in the city she always wanted to move to.
31 reflected on all of the experiences she’s had. Getting lost in the Swiss Alps, walking in the sweltering heat of Rome, watching the sunset over the foothills of southern Spain, doing a 15-point turn going the wrong way in a narrow street in Amalfi, drinking some fine wine with some amazing friends in the Algarve. So many memories…
‘It was such an adventure at the start. Everything was new and different. New culture, new people, new job. The travel was fantastic, and the bucket list keeps getting smaller – experiencing so many great cultures,art and history’
‘Art? Culture? History?’ retorted 21. 31 rolls her eyes and just lets that slide…
‘So are you near the end of the list of all the places you wanted to see?’
‘No way! I still feel like there is more to do – each time I tick something, another thing gets added on to the list! I don’t know when this feeling will go away, or if it will ever go away’
‘How will you stop? When will you stop? The plan was to have had 2 babies by now!’
This was a question that 31 had been asking herself for a while. It was burning inside slowly, eating away at her until recently. She constantly felt like she had to give up what she loved, because time and society were against her. The clock was ticking and there were people asking about babies. Babies. Family. Settling down. None of that made any sense to 31, and now there was a much younger version of her asking the same.
‘You know, I don’t think I will ever stop wanting to see the world and all it’s wonders. For a while I thought there was something wrong with me, and then I just accepted that that is who I am. It was ok to be different. The question isn’t really ‘when’ will you stop, it’s ‘what’ will make you stop.’
‘What do you mean?’ 21 asked.
‘I mean, once you are comfortable with yourself you feel like you are not bound by time and expectations, they don’t matter. You can clearly see what really matters to you. To me that’s home. I appreciate home more now, and I am starting to miss it. So I will go back soon, because I ‘need’ to, and not because I feel like I ‘have’ to.
‘So you miss home?’
‘We sure do. We miss the long hot summers. I can feel the sun on my face and the summer breeze on my skin. I can smell the summer rain’
21 never noticed that the rain in summer had a nice scent or any scent at all. All she wanted to do was stay inside a house with the air conditioner blasting away. She never wanted the morning sun piercing her eyes. ‘You miss home that much? But Australia’s so boooorrring!!!’
31 lets another one slide.
‘Yes, that much. You don’t realise it until you go out and experience life elsewhere. Its healthy to do that. At the end, there is no place like home, with family and friends that you care about.’
‘How did mum feel about you moving?’ asked 21. The relationship between 21 and her mother was complex. 21 wanted to pull away, and her mother just couldn’t imagine letting that happen.
‘She was not happy, as you can imagine. At first we were talking to each other every day. Gradually we decreased the amount of times we were talking’
‘To how many times?’
‘To about 3-4 times a week’
Now this was a surprise to 21. ‘Wow! That’s still a lot, I can’t wait to move out of the house right now! Can’t wait to be free!’
31 was chuckling inside. This was indeed how she felt all those years ago. Even till about a couple of years ago she would have thought this to be excessive.
‘I know it sounds like a lot, but the strange thing is, I need to talk to them that many times a week. I never knew that I would want to, but I do. The hardest part is realising that you actually miss them far more than you imagined you would. As a part of growing up, you force yourself to move away. You have to in order to become who you will be. But at some point you relaise you need them in your life no matter what.’
21 noticed that 31 had mentioned ‘we’ in the conversation. ‘You keep mentioning ‘we’? Who is in the ‘we’? Is it a guy? Did you marry him?’
‘Yeah, it’s a guy, and I married him. He’s right over there’. 31 pointed out a young man over to the far right.
21 couldn’t believe it. ‘You married that guy? What? Seriously? What happened to the long checklist? He’s not even wearing baggy jeans! you need to get yourself checked right now!’
‘yes I did. I can tell you now that the check lists don’t matter. All you need is someone that will love you for you. Someone who will make you the very best you can ever be, better than you ever imagined’
There was a sense of calm coming over 21 as she had found out all the major events that had taken place in her future life. She was also nervous at the same time though, as she had no idea of what life was like in-between All those years, everyday life, work, relationships, bad days, good days. ‘Is everything going to be ok?’ she asked.
‘No. Everything is not going to be ok, but most things will be ok. Some days you will feel like you are losing and there is absolutely no way back up. Remember tomorrow is indeed another day, the sun will still shine, you will be alive, and you can try again. So, learn to laugh at your self, take chances, lose the bad friends, keep the good friends, talk to your parents, do what your heart wants you to do and not what you are made to do. Always remember, failure is something you can go and change, but regret, is not…’
Where did the time go? Time was up. With that, 31 got up, hugged 21. 21 had a cute boy to go and meet, 31 to do the weekend grocery shopping and dinner in a nice cozy pub with some great friends.
Life goes on thought 31 – people change, friends come and go – even addresses change. But note to self: There will always be questions and what-ifs no matter how old you are – just be brave in your convictions. That has served you well so far…
Would you like to meet your younger self? How do you think you would feel about them, and them about you? Has your life turned out the way you planned?
Added to the Daily Post
Trackbacks & Pingbacks
- Papa | The Era I lived in
- A Conversation with Myself | Escaping a Daydream
- Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words | Little big things
- 1000 Word Challenge | Fallen Apostate
- Reading, Writing and Laughing on the Way to Inner Bliss:
- Weekly Writing Challenge | sparrow111
- Lily | The Silver Leaf Journal
- 1,000 Words | The Nest
- Memories of Fog | R. Sativus
- Flying On Empty Thoughts | Forever.