I was searching for a book to read tonight. I usually don't have the luxury of reading for pleasure, but my third track-out commenced this morning, and, in-between my exhaustive portfolioing, I think a little Austen might do me good.
As I perused the titles on our various bookshelves, I came across an old leather bound journal. I was never a very good chronicler in my youth. My mother kept me well stocked in lovely volumes, and I would dutifully fill out a page or two and...that was about it. This particular edition is unique in that it has five entries, covering about a 6-year period in my life.
It starts with me talking about friendship and ends with me talking about being a new wife. It goes from my crush on Paul Rudd to my complex relationship with my husband. It starts with me reminiscing about a childhood companion and ends with me discussing how much I dislike a former childhood friend. I amusingly mention having heart palpitations in several entries; I was a little high strung, I guess. I almost want to show it to my students to prove to them that I was young once and also thought the world began and ended with a phone call from a certain boy.
Mostly, the journal gives me pause. I am a few days away from turning 28. I am a full-fledged adult. In that journal, I, like the hoards of teens who came before and after, wanted so badly to grow up so I could experience that lovely break from parental strife and suffocating dependence. I begged for it. Now, I have it. Why don't I feel older? Why don't I feel like that's a 28-year-old woman looking back at me in the mirror? Why don't I feel like I have changed from that precocious, silly girl who wanted to marry someone who looked just like the guy in Clueless?
Perhaps, my chosen career has warped me slightly. I can't grow up because I am surrounded by my miniatures--girls who are equally consumed by the storm and stress of adolescence. I live in a special world--one where you go home to the same boy you fell in love with in high school and where you wake up each day and go back to 10th grade and help comfort a girl crying in the bathroom. I even worship at the feet of a new Mr. Broadhurst each afternoon and ask him about belief and history.
My life is different, too. I am missing people who were with me for those first decades, and I no longer pretend to be a Wizard of Oz tree shaker in the side yard of Den Tree Court. But that girl...that girl who wrote that she wanted to be cuddled by a boy and that she wanted her parents to get along and that she couldn't believe she was getting married in two weeks...that girl is still very much coursing through this increasingly aging body. Is it normal to not change?