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.