“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
There are easily a million reasons why I love Mark Twain, but not a single one of them has any part in my appreciation of these words.
It’s hard to imagine my life with any aspect missing. I think that’s why I have such a troublesome time trying to relate to who I was 5, 10, or even 15 years ago. At this point, those girls are merely someone else who made me me without even thinking about it, which is nice because it means I’m helping to make me someone else as we speak. I can be anyone I want in the future based on the changes I make now. Anyone at all.
But the important part is that I become the right person. I tend to subscribe to the everything-happens-for-a-reason belief (yet can’t let go of my anxiety… hm?) and therefore think that I can’t possibly miss the mark on the whole “destiny” thing.
I’m going to take this opportunity to veer from my intended path and apologize for the gaggle of words. They have a tendency to run away from me and get bogged down in the marsh of my idiosyncrasies. Is it worth wading through? Maybe, if you have a 13th grade reading level and have already blown through Goosebumps, the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, the Left Behind Series, the Martian Chronicles, the Time Machine, and the Bell Jar and simply can’t find anything else worth reading. Even then, maybe not. That’s where I left the 7th grade version of myself, by the way. She’s wandering around the Hubbard Middle School library in her uniform, hair in a pony tail, looking at the fiction shelves under the giant window and sifting through one series at a time. She has braces and usually opts for yellow polos. The one she has on now has a small white trim on the collar, making a dainty little ruffle pattern. Boys don’t really like her because she has pretty friends and her binder is filled with song lyrics and quotes and topics she plans to bring up in her AIM conversation with church camp hottie Aaron Smith later that night.
It’s interesting (and very important) to me because there really is a place I’ve left different versions of myself over the years. It’s like I keep a snapshot of me in a date-labeled jar on a shelf. The 8-year-old me is chubby with glasses and spends most of her time doing really creative crafty things at Sarah Pritchard’s house. The 14-year-old me is coming into her own and discovering some of those aforementioned idiosyncrasies and struggling with acceptance. She’s in a dark place, dating Matt Curtis, and wearing a lot of eyeliner. 17-year-old me has long, swooping side-bangs and wears hemp jewelry, drives a Jeep, and can be found piled into Daniel’s room with 4 or 5 of her closest friends. Sophomore in college me hates the idea of sitting behind a desk from 8-5 everyday for the rest of my life & decides to start a band with a random stranger to avoid said circumstance. She writes & records a few songs before getting too scared to see anything come of it.
The important thing is that all of them brought me to where I am now and I must also bring them with me, but I treat them more like a keepsake & less like a memory. I am filled with love for them.
So how do I do right by them? The only way I can think of is to make something magical of my life. The heartbreaking part is that I don’t know how to do that just yet.
Now, I realize I’m a little young for an existential mid-life crisis. That’s not what this is, per say. Instead, think of this as me thinking out loud about how I can make my life count for something or someone bigger than myself. I’m a pretty passionate person about things (just ask me about the upcoming Great Gatsby movie or the new Spider-man, Andrew Garfield, or any actor in any new movie, really). I think a lot about the Switchfoot line,
“We were meant to live for so much more but we lost ourselves,”
and I feel terrified. It’s like there’s some calling I’m afraid I’ve missed, gnawing at my gut like the thought of a stove I may or may not have left on. This may merely be another form of me on the path to where I’m meant to be, but I’m realizing that I’m the type who wouldn’t take that chance on some big adventure, and it breaks the heart of the inner 4-year-old me who’s in love with Peter Pan.
I think I’m just praying for a slap in the face from God or some giant “turn here” sign. I don’t want to merely become another person, I need to become the right person.