Late last night, I mustered up the courage to flick through my old blog that accompanied me like a best friend from graduate school, outlasting even my first two real jobs. Some of you old faithfuls (hi, mum!) might remember the bright pink blog, written in one of three languages depending on my mood of the day. Would you believe that several of those entries are now ten years old? ‘Old Pink’ has become a relic of a bygone era!
For better or for worse, time has a way of transforming us, at times making former assumptions about life foreign to our present selves. As my new favorite author Haruki Murakami wrote in 1Q84, “People grow up, and when they grow up they change.” I stumbled upon anecdotes recounting ridiculous abuse at work that I would never put up with today. I read post after post and many stories long forgotten. I remembered tidbits about peculiar people or stalkers or wild adventures that my brain has managed to forget. I relived precious memories and phenomenal friendships. I even uncovered old hobbies that at some point have fallen by the wayside in the throws of life.
Reading my old entries made my heart ache, ache, ache. It felt like my heart bled right into my ribcage. Each of these posts are indelible reminders of all that I left behind in order to live life fully today. I thought I was doing pretty well at being present right here and right now. Then I rediscovered the unstoppable pink blog me. The tireless, direct, hopeful, international, adventurous, fearless, feisty, feminist, full of faith, language genius ‘me’ in an adorable fast and nimble little body. Behind the screen of my laptop that was so bright at this late hour, I was overcome with so. much. grief of all that is no more.
Today, my other foreign languages are rusty and my body has taken a beating. All too often, my faith feels shakey and most of my days are actually pretty boring. I am quite confident that my former self would be terrified to meet my later self.
What has become of me? Is it my current environment that simply fails to value some of those old skills, that side of me that comes out roaring, full of life? Is it the routine brought about by marriage and family that has slowed me down and naturally led me to abandon old passions? And, I shudder to even write this here, has my age welcomed in with more knowledge, more filters, fear and cynicism? Perhaps a combination of all of the above.
Frankly, after reading my posts, I am tempted to throw my family on a plane stat. to relive my wild past instead of waiting and waiting for the right opportunity to arise. Or at a minimum, I am tempted to dwell over there in that exciting past and be miserable and miss out here. With everything in me, though, I refuse to be stuck in the past. Instead, I long to constantly be thankful for such incredible formative experiences in my twenties and ask my Abba Father to keep reminding me of the richness of this season we live in now. I think of the sheer providence of siblings living close by, meaningful cross-cultural work projects that just constantly crop up precisely when I yearn for it, loving community that has rallied around our family. It goes without saying that I will be wailing and ranting to you when all of this is no longer at my fingertips.
On some level, this mourning is good grief. It is the type of grief that doesn’t just sink you into a better past, but rather inspires. It invites me to live a more whole-hearted life today, inspired by my yesterself. It is the type of grief that cannot deny the goodness of life as I know it today. Indeed, a decade later, I have a husband who adores me and will do anything to see me running in stride. Since then, I “got to” leave my heart on yet another continent and I fell in love with another language and gained love for yet another culture. I am blessed beyond belief with two healthy, spirited, precious children who bring me to my knees daily and have made me more real than ever before. Sure, this old bod’ is worn-out but it also tells a heroic sacrificial story of life…times two! And, oh, I no longer work for people or things I don’t believe in. All of this is more than I ever hoped for back when. No more running half marathons fueled by Pringles, I am more self-aware. No more strong-arming colleagues to get a project done – because relationships mean more to me than ever before.
Today’s scribbles in my journal show that I am struggling with so much more than I ever thought I had left behind. Still, somehow, I want to find thankfulness in my heart and on my lips for the sacred mundane which is the gift of raising little humans – even in the middle of America. Humbly, I shall bring my small mustard seed of faith before my heavenly Father, praying that those other parts of me that have withered away, will one day be brought back to life.