I know this woman. Quite well.
At 30, the world is her oyster. Or so she thinks. Sshh. Don’t tell her differently. She probably won’t listen even if you do.
I say this with some surety because she is my younger self. She is on Kauai on her honeymoon.
What would I tell this woman if she could hear me? So many things come to mind. First and foremost, that in a decade or two she can purchase a dynamite keratin treatment at a salon that will take care of the slight frizz in her hair at the beach. I know, right? Score. Lifesaver.
Ah, yes, I jest. It would be a Top Ten item, but maybe not first. Hey, a girl likes to look good at the beach, people.
I would tell her that interviewing for a new job just days before your wedding with a 102 degree fever is probably not the brightest move. That she might want to heed the red flags waving because the woman who will be her boss is the one who insisted on an interview just days before her wedding and despite the fever.
Duh. She is bright but stubborn enough that it makes her stupid sometimes. So stupid she does not realize people who force interviews when you are ill and about to go through a major life event are probably not the most emotionally intelligent overseers you will find.
I would tell her that when her future sister-in-law asks her point blank to host an engagement party at her home for a “small group”, it will end up seeming like Lollapalooza sans wristbands for the lovely hostess. And will cost an amount she cannot afford. And she should really learn how to say a proper “no” and shut the front door.
I would tell her not to go nuts on the enrichment classes and flashcards for her eldest because these, in the end, are not the real markers of the man. To enjoy those picnics in the backyard, the brief respite of naptime, playing outside with the neighbor children and their parents.
I would tell her not to eat the chicken at the fondue joint while pregnant and adding on to her home. That it will give her food poisoning and when the basement floods that night due to lack of backfill, she will be too sick to get off the basement air mattress and get to a hotel. And it will suck. Just stick to the steak, honey.
Odd lot of things to think of, eh? Have you guessed my secret yet? It’s because I can’t tell her about the heavy stuff. If I tell her that she will end up divorcing this man holding the very camera that is taking the photo you see above, she will freak. Or not believe me. Or do something rash. A little black and white, that one.
She will wonder how it is that her judgements about him and their relationship could be wrong. She will try to fix it all before it happens. Because if she believes anything, it’s that she can fix just about everything.
I cannot tell her about the sweat equity she will put into her house until her back aches, sleepless nights with a baby who doesn’t sleep well for eight months, arguments over unmowed lawns, regret over her sharp tongue when angry. She needs these very things to shape her, mold her, temper her, prepare her for the mother of all storms that will come and reduce her known life to ashes.
I am who I am because of my core, yes. But I have been shaken to the same core and it shifted. That shift has been my baptism and my blessing by a God and universe that still stymie me. But always amaze me in the end. An end I’m still living on into one day at a time. One my 66-year-old self I’m sure is dying to tell me about tout de suite. Only she can’t.
I’m just a bit over halfway through the book.
And, like it or not, there will no spoilers.
This post is the last of five in which I was challenged to tell a story about a photo. I’ve been remiss in nominating fellow bloggers so here goes. Five at once. I’m issuing the same challenge (see below) to five blogs I love to read because they always surprise me, delight me or make me think:
- My Path with Stars Bestrewn
- From the Laundry Room
- The Better Man Project
- Working Without a Net
The Challenge “Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.”
21 Comments Add yours
As always, Kay, very well said. You live and you learn, my friend.
Its just as well we don’t know the future, Kay. Some of it would entrance us and some would be horrifying. Best to go along as well as we can every moment. Sounds like despite heart ache and hardship, you’ve made a good life for yourself. Be proud.
What a powerful read!
I love this – particularly the knowledge that you can’t tell yourself the bigger stuff – it would be great to give some advice to our younger selves, but then we’d be less wise from not having had the difficult experiences.
I loved this so much. Love the advice you’d give your younger self, and the fact that you wouldn’t want to know the really hard stuff. I’m of the same mind. When it comes to the tough stuff, I don’t want to know what’s coming up. But I am working on myself so I can handle it with more grace and ease. Beautifully written.
I agree with what everyone else has said. It would be nice in theory to fix some of the things that made life difficult but truly knowing the outcome before is worse. I have had the same thought what if I did not do this or that but then well you know.
You know, deep down, that she wouldn’t have listened to a bloody word you said, anyway. Could you imagine what sort of life we would lead if we knew the end of each chapter? Mind you, there are those out there who read the last chapter of every book to decide if it’s worth reading the whole thing! (Or am I the only one who knows someone who does this?)
So no ~ no spoilers, no forewarnings, no heads ups. All the crap (and wonderful) is what makes us who we are today. Wise, beautiful, aware, open to new adventures, smart, joyful…
Garth was right!
You always make me feel alive and like I can tackle the world, Dale:). Thank you! And you’re right. She wouldn’t have listened to one bloody word:).
That’s ‘coz you can! And thank you for saying that!
You know she wouldn’t!
What a fantastic post. Reminds me of Dante: “In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” The straight way is often lost, and the dark woods surround us, but we wouldn’t be who we are without the journey – spoiler-free.
Ah yes, I think I lost the straight way awhile back:). Lots of curves and twists but all good in the end. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
I love your writing. You remind me a lot of myself. Thanks for another great read.
Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words!
What an amazing and vivid story! I can so relate to wanting to go back to warn your former self and then deciding against it. Except my child self. I would definitely go back to hug her, even though she’d just go “Ewwwww!” 😉
Great post, Kay. Poignant, thoughtful and lovely.
You have bravely weathered the storm, and from the ashes of your former life, you’ve emerged like a true phoenix! You continually impress and inspire me. You, my friend, are a woman of strength, of truth, of beauty. And I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but I’m so very proud of you.
I’ll accept your 5-day photo challenge, which sounds rather intriguing. But please don’t hold your breath, because I don’t think I’ll be able to give it any thought until sometime next week. xo
Thank you, Amy! You’re always so kind. I will not hold my breath nor will I judge because it took me about two weeks to do a five-day challenge:). But hey, it’s done!
And it did make you the lovely person you are today Kay…not an ounce one way or the other…just perfect 🙂
Awesome! So true….
A wonderful post! There is something to be said about not knowing the hardships that we will face, but living in the moment. I always think of the song “The Dance” by Garth Brooks (I’m not a country fan, but this song always speaks to me when I look back at life so far).
“And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance”
I’ll toast to Garth:). Here’s to the dance!