If you were to wake up and have no memory of the last 10 years, would you be proud of where you are in life?
Deep question to open a post, huh? I’m kind of laughing as I type because it’s very unlike me to start that way. However, that question was the premise of the book “What Alice Forgot,” which I finally finished last week. It was a great read, and this won’t spoil it at all. While the main character of the book is about 20 years older than me and in a much different stage of life (married with three kids), I couldn’t help but think how I would feel in her shoes. I put myself in the characters’ situations for most books, but this one in particular made me reflect.
What the hell does this have to do with anything? It doesn’t really, but this is my blog and it’s allowed on Thinking Out Loud Thursday.
A lot can happen in 10 years. I’m sure no matter what age you are now you can agree that life was different 10 years ago . Not in a bad way, but different. I get that I’m young and so much more is going to change but I can still apply the story to my life. Would 11-year-old me be proud of the person I am today? What would she think of my life?
So many of my values and habits are identical to what they were 10 years ago. I’m still a homebody, a morning person and a self-starter. I still want to raise a family and vacation at the beach. I still like waking up early and eating breakfast before the house gets up. I still try to sleep in on Sunday mornings to get out of church….kidding.
11-year-old Emily would be impressed by a lot of new and different things.
To name a few:
-Running long distances (for fun)
-Living in Florida (compared to the Northeast)
-Not eating gluten (a word I didn’t even know then)
-Not having a job straight out of college, or knowing what I want to do
-Not “pretending” to drop broccoli on the floor so she wouldn’t have to eat it
She would probably need help pronouncing quinoa, acai and kombucha, but that’s to be expected. She would also not believe that I actually like my/our sister. Not the fake “I have to like you because we’re related,” the real “you’re my best friend.”
On the other hand, only in the last few years do I think 10 year-old-me would be proud of the hobbies and life I’ve built. Obviously, it’s hard to tell what about me has changed because of maturity versus societal effects. I’m more regimented, goal-oriented and realistic than I was when I was younger. I care more about what others think and feel like I have a reputation to uphold. I am more cautious and hesitant to try new things.
Would I always have been this way or did society and “life pressures” contribute? Was I influenced by moving? By my peers? By teenage hormones? Yes, all the above…and more. It’s interesting to think about but can also drive you crazy. My takeaway from this book: no matter what the last 10 years of your life looked like, if you don’t like the result, you can start now to make amends and/or changes. Also, I’ve learned that it’s OK to change from 10 years ago. You can be proud of the person you are now and the person you were then, even if they were different.
The 11-year-old in me wants to be more adventurous, carefree and relaxed today. To keep things in perspective but still dream big. Maybe I don’t want to be a professional basketball player today, but I can use that child-like passion and apply it to my interests now.
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I hope from this very random post you can reflect on your memories from the last 10 years and assess your balance in life. Too much work not enough play? Too many “go, go, go” moments? Whatever it is, a little self-exploration never hurts.
Margaret @ youngandrungry says
This is so deep and I love it! You’re making me really want to read this book. I also wanted to be a professional basketball player so I think my 10-year old self would be really disappointed with me right now and shocked that I ultimately chose running. I think she’s also be shocked that I ended up doing pretty good and life as far as school and my career, but my 10 year old sister would be pissed that I’m living with her and her 30 year old husband :)
Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…TOL- Space Between Unhealthy and Too Healthy
I was kind of obsessed with Lisa Leslie and the WNBA when I was little. Now I can be obsessed with Kara Goucher and such :) HAHA I can imagine my sister would say the same if the roles were reversed.
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says
My 11 year old self would certainly be surprised that I fell in love with running and being active. I think my 11 year old self would be happy to see myself still going into teaching, since it has been what I have always wanted to do. I think the biggest thing my 11 year old self would be happy to see is me just being happy and overcoming the anxiety issues I struggled with so much in elementary school. To be doing what I love and being surrounded by family and friends. Such a thought provoking post, Emily!
Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…My Accutane Journey
Crazy how running used to be the thing I dreaded in gym class. The fact that you’re going to be a teacher is something special! 11 year old you would be pleased :)
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
I LOVE THIS POST. What a great idea. Let’s see, 10 years ago… I was graduating from high school! My past (and let’s be honest, my current self still is!) surprised that I don’t have a job in architecture, or a steady career. My past self would be AGOG that I am not riding horses but have taken up running with the same passion, even to the extent that I am a running coach. My past self would be amazed at how well I am feeling (and I wouldn’t have minded missing some of the flares I’ve had since). And I would have to introduce my past self to Alex, and I’m not sure he would like that very much! But I would still very much be myself–that hasn’t really changed :D
Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…What Does a Running Coach Do? Running Coaches Corner 2
Health-wise, I would have liked to skip some of the celiac pain during the last 10 years. But I guess that makes us even more appreciate of our health now? Haha I can’t imagine re-introducing myself to a spouse.
rachel @ athleticavocado says
Such a great idea to look back at your younger self! I can’t believe how much I changed from ten years ago. I was in 5th grade and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was such a tomboy and played 5 sports at the time. I also was way more care free too. Maybe Ill have to go back to that mindset!
rachel @ athleticavocado recently posted…Roasted Banana Split Breakfast Bowl
I was a tomboy too (part of me still is) and sports were a big part of me life. I think we could all use a little more of that free mindset :)
[email protected] says
I LOVE THIS POST. I had never heard of the is book before, but now I totally want to read it. Putting it on my long list of books to read once the semester ends! I feel like I have NO time to read for pleasure with all the “school” reading I have to do right now. Can’t wait for summer….or wait GRADUATION in general!
[email protected] recently posted…Zucchini Bread Bites [vegan + gluten-free + sugar-free]
It’s an easy beach-read that could be a great break from school work :)
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
I love these flashback posts (and photos). I really want to read that book! 10 years ago I was about to start working at Marshalls with my sister and was so excited about the future. I was still so innocent and naiive about things (still am) but I would be proud of my optimistic attitude that carried throughout my life and never losing my values.
I’m proud about maintaining my values too. Still need to work on the optimism part ;)
Oh my God the 14 year old Ellie would probably be incredulous at the Ellie I am. Running for fun? Not playing basketball? Not being a scientist or being married? Oh man I missed the boat. I bet she would be proud of me too and the challenges I’ve faced. I think my views of success and happiness have changed and I hope 14 year old Ellie would have appreciated that :-)
Ellie recently posted…Running Rambles #7: Staying True To Myself
You played basketball too? It was seriously my life back then! I’m sure 14 year you would be impressed with your blog and running success.
It is amazing to look back at how much we’ve learned. I’m so thankful that God has given me so many hard lessons in the past 20 years of my life in order to show me just how much He cares about me. It’s amazing! I love the pictures of you when you were younger. <3
Emily recently posted…WIAW: I Will Never Be Strong Enough
It really is amazing! He has a great plan for us that we never could have planned when we were younger.
So interesting and something I thought about too while reading that book! I think to be honest, until about 2 years ago, the me 10 years ago would have been sad at where I was at but luckily I turned that around and now she would be proud. This is such a good reminder and a good thing to think about going forward to make decisions based off what truly matters and what you’d be happy looking back on. You’re a gem, by the way. :)
You have so much to be proud of. I heard someone on the radio say “no one on their death bed wishes they spent more hours in the office.” Not exactly the same premise but still makes you think about the decisions we make today!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
Love this! I think 10-year old me would be proud of me. She might not understand why I chose UChicago over any of the Ivies, but she’d catch on pretty quickly. She’d be happy that I write a lot, and she could sympathize with the fact that I don’t know what I want my career to be. Like Hayley said, I think this is an interesting thing to think about when it comes to making decisions now. Thanks for the thought-provoking post :)
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #45
UChicago is like an ivy in my mind :) Thanks for your comment!
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl says
It’s an intriguing premise, and I think 14-year-old me would be amazed and thrilled by the life that 24-year-old me has built. But at 14 I was on the cusp of a long period of struggling with anxiety and an eating disorder that lasted from freshman year of high school well into law school. I think the 11-to-21 shift would seem really different. Because at 24 I’ve gotten myself into a really good life where I can envision what I dream about coming true, and know it’s realistic that it’s going to happen, but even a couple of years ago, no way was that what I was seeing!
Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…WIAW #47: Allergy Free Mickey Treats
Alyssa, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! It’s reassuring to me because this age is pretty damn confusing. I’m hopeful in a couple more years I can see a path!
Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl says
I think you’ll find the first few months and years out are the most confusing. For me I flew right into law school and that was not a “mistake” exactly but definitely meant a period where I continued to have the academic blinders on and not be able to figure out life outside school. Then, the summer after law school – after the bar! – I had a period of time kind of like you do now, and that was crucial for me to get into the mindset I have now. I’m not saying I’ve figured it all out, not even close, and I don’t think anyone ever has it ALL worked out, but I can see the way I’d love my life to be a lot more clearly :)
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Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood says
I LOVE this lost! I talk about this to my dad all. the. time. I was super punk-y and weird when I was 15, and had very clear ideas of when I would get married and have kids and I despised any type of exercise and was overweight. (23 I would meet my husband, we would get married when I was 26, I would have my first kid at 29 and a second at 32. Oh, and I was going to work in the city as a PR consultant for bands. I have no idea.) Now that I’m 25 with almost 2 kids, married, into health and fitness (though, not necessarily right now..) and country music, and a SAHM, I think my 15 year old self would be SHOCKED.
Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…5 Things to Decide Before Starting a Blog
I had/have very clear ideas of when major milestones will happen in my life. I’m slowly learning to let go of that timeline.
Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings says
I loved this book! Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors and I am obsessed with her writing. I think my 13 year old self would be shocked that I actually like and enjoy running, surprised that I’m not as close with my middle school friends anymore, weirded out that I work in real estate and am not a vet haha, and just happy and proud of where I am with my life- relationship, family, career, friends, health, values, etc. This was such a creative post Emily :)
Amanda @ ExploringLifeAndThings recently posted…Update: I knee’d to be cautious
I need her to write more books because I love her writing! Same with me and some of my middle school friends. I know people grow apart but I wouldn’t have been able to predict that then.
Sarah @pickyrunner says
LOVE this. I’m definitely not what I imagined at 10 years old. I don’t remember what I did imagine, but I’m pretty happy with the person I’ve become. These pictures are gold. Especially the one where you’re making a face next to your sister haha that was so me.
Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…See you later
My mom remembers more about me at that age than I do but a few prominent points stick out. Oh my sister loves that picture!
Wow! I really love this. So much has changed in the past 10 years of my life! I think it is a good thing to reflect back and see how far you have come and where you want to head next.
10 years is a long time and I can’t even break it up into smaller segments of “this was the defining moment.” Just time all added up.
Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet says
Ahhh I love this idea for a blog post…reflection is such a powerful tool. I totally am going to do a similar thing and think about things that would make 11 year old me proud of current me :) PS that pic with your sister…that’s gold!!!
Cayanne Marcus @healthyezsweet recently posted…5 Things the Gluten Intolerant People in your Life Want You to Know
Thanks, Cayenne! My sister loves that picture of me, and I’ve come to love it too.
wow what a neat thought my mind is spinning ! 10 years ago i was about your age now ! still in college but working a billion jobs to pay for it. at that point i wanted to go to med school to be a dermatologist ! i ended up being an accountant/financial analyst ! LOL i know. 21 year old me would be like huh to that. me now says wow you made a mistake look at those lines on your face you could be fixing on your own now !!! LOL i think my hard working waitressing 21 year old self would be shocked that office work is so tiring. i mean you sit all day right ? desk jobs do make you gain weight and its hard to fit in exercise when you work 10+ hr days. i think 21 year old me thought i was working my @$$ off then to go to college so that i wouldn’t have to work so hard now and would have more money (vs my parents sorta more paycheck to paycheck but still happy). well what surprises me still is how much harder i work, yes for more money, but hey that doesnt mean you are happier ! i think younger me though enough money would solve my problems and it didnt matter what i did all day..they call it work cuz its work right. well money solves some probs but creates others. and work needs to be at least tolerable. i think i never realized its the people you work with that make it good or bad vs the actual work.
im in the same boat as you too…21 year old me didnt know what gluten was at all and was all oh i should give up bread for a while…uh NO. eat all the g bread you can !
for the good…21 year old me would be proud that i have become a sorta morning person and OMG i just realized i started dating my boyfriend at almost 21 so 21 year old me would say wow…this guy was sort of a rebound guy…well not exactly ! i gave up on the guy who treated me poorly for a guy who has a much better heart and soul. awww. thanks for that i’m gonna call him right now !
Thank you for sharing, Tara! I agree with what you said about money. It doesn’t guarantee happiness!
Amanda @ .running with spoons. says
I’d most definitely be surprised if I lost the last 10 years of my memory! 10 years ago I was fresh out of high school and in university pursuing my psychology degree. Never would I have thought that I’d end up blogging and health coaching instead of working in a clinical psych setting. This is part of the reason why I kind of gave up on trying to make plans — life had a way of always laughing at me when I tried :lol: And the crazy thing is that things turned out pretty freaking great anyways.
Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…so many feels, upcoming travels, and when did that happen?!? (ToL #172)
I like the idea of having plans but I also love seeing what just happens…because so many things that I did not plan for have worked out well!
Kristy @ Southern In Law says
I think my 12 year old self would definitely be surprised at who I am today! First of all I’m a coeliac (I didn’t find that out until I was 19 – and then I’m also married, a business owner, a blogger AND someone who lifts heavy things.
That last bit would be especially surprising to my 12 year old self because up until I was about 16, I rarely ever used my right arm. I have an arm disability due to a birth injury which meant I always had limited movement and I always put things in the “too hard” basket instead of trying to work to improve the ability I had. At 12 I could barely lift my right arm 45 degrees and today I can almost lift it completely up! :P
Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Easy Ham & Cheese Zucchini Slice
Wow! Thank you for sharing, Kristy. Those are definitely changes for the better :)
I LOVE this post Emily! So thought provoking and insightful. I want to read the book now. I think 9 going on 10 year old me would be proud of who I am today and what I have been through. I think she would be a bit shocked at some stuff,lol, but hey that’s life! I love the mindset of “dreaming big” and being open to whatever the future has to hold.
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Rebecca @ Vitamin OH! says
Wow – what a great idea for a post! I hated running, so I know I would be absolutely shocked that I run marathons (and that almost all my friends who ran in high school burned out and are the inactive ones now!). I know I would be happy I’m engaged to a great guy and have a house. I would probably wish I dealt with my depression better. Before I had it, I was always happy, which isn’t so much the case now.
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Catherine @ foodiecology says
I love this post – and I really want to read that book!
This makes me feel old, but 10 years ago I was your age. I think I need to go back 15 years (before college!) to get the full effect, haha, but I think my pre-college self would be proud of who I am now – although shocked that I didn’t go to grad school or pursue a career in law or publishing. Yay for thinking out loud – they’re my favorite posts to write and read!
Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted…Exhaustion isn’t a Merit Badge: An Argument for Holding Back
Wow!! What a fun post Emily! I love seeing these pictures! So cute. Sounds like you’ve learned so much! I sure have… 10 years ago… I was 11!! Haha, I can’t even remember how I thought, but I’m sure it was much different than now!! Hehe, ohhhhhh time!
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