I woke up this morning and scrolled through my FB feed while still in bed. I like to do this- firstly, it’s the slow start that I need for the act of waking up. Second, I like knowing as soon as I wake if all is well in the world (most days this is the case). Third, waking up to friends sharing happy pictures and funny quips isn’t a bad start to the day. So this morning as I scrolled I saw this photo and it has been on my mind all morning: (cropped from the original)
Imagine my surprise seeing my grumpy face in the background!
The photo is from a friend’s wedding in 1999, I saw it because her wedding anniversary is today- and in her FB post her friend commented back with it. Clearly I was in the picture by accident. I believe it was the first time I was a bridesmaid and I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I think I was the maid of honor- which was even more confusing for me. Anyhow, there I was in 1999- freshly graduated from Michigan State University and absolutely no clue as to what was going to happen with my life. I was there to support my friend on her big day- but I’m not going to lie- I was far too self-absorbed to see past anything but my own worries.
I was not an optimistic and happy-go-lucky twenty-something. I believe I was happier in my late teens than any time else, actually. So when I was walking down this aisle in celebration of my friend (who just celebrated her 18th anniversary!) I wasn’t thinking of how awesome and happy I was for her. I wasn’t jealous. In fact I felt nothing for anyone because I couldn’t see beyond my own sense of displacement and disillusionment. What a waste!
So what was the matter with me, anyhow? Looking back- now an older and wiser 40-year-old who finds herself more content than I can say- I place the blame on a few things. First and foremost- playing the role of ‘boyfriend’ in my life I had a manipulative narcissist who enjoyed toying with my emotions and mental state very much like how a cat plays with a dead mouse. I remember at the time of this wedding we were not together- but me as the selfish person I was- all I could think about was how he wasn’t there with me, considering the wedding was in the UP (where I had briefly gone to college with him).
Additionally my grandfather had died earlier that year. That shook me hard and I missed him very much. Furthermore, knowing that the predictability of my undergraduate life was over was also disconcerting. I had no prospects for a job- I didn’t even know how to look for one. At this moment my only possible plan was to apply to graduate school because I didn’t know what else to do. The demand for people clutching their English Lit degrees wasn’t exactly knocking my door down.
Thus, I was consumed by this uncertainty and insecurity on that front. I thought I was going to forever be stuck in a place where I had no future- no idea what to do with my life, and forever feeling as ‘ugly’ as the person I thought of as a boyfriend called me. In all honesty, I was completely lost. I guess you could say- the epitome of want, but not knowing what I wanted.
Thus, my children (who I hope are reading this someday in the future), I think all that I want you to understand is that no matter how dire- how down, how depressing your circumstances- they won’t last forever. I couldn’t see past my own emotions to enjoy this wedding day of my friend- how I had all of my life in front of me- all of YOU in front of me, and I just couldn’t chill the hell out and enjoy that moment being 24 years old.
Today I want for nothing.
Of course I can reflect on it now- as I did this morning while I was in the shower- I calculated in my mind -Oh my god. And to think, I would meet my husband within FOUR years of that moment. Within ten years I would be a mother, and within twelve years I’d be living my absolute dream: Living abroad with my family. Thus, hey Farrah of 24 years- wake the hell up and freaking enjoy your life! Trials will come- things will hard. There will be loss. The time of your 20s is supposed to be messed up, but make the most of it- take more pictures (I wish I had more- but alas, no social media nor smartphones!) and sock away the good moments- you know, like the WEDDING OF YOUR FRIEND.
But of course I cannot do that. I can’t go back and talk to her, shake the reason into her- look at her face of want and say ‘It’s all going to be ok. I promise. It’s going to be even BETTER than ok. So just live humbly, be grateful, and enjoy these moments.’
I can, however, say them to you, my boys. I know you’ll look at me and roll your eyes- but know that someday you will stumble upon this blog post in your time of need and say ‘OMG.THIS is what mom was talking about!’
And no matter where I am, be sure that I will laugh and laugh and laugh.