Saturday, March 20, 2010


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?

1 comment:

Gina said...

Yes my darlin' daughter, it is normal to feel you have not changed (you have changed, believe me, even if that's not how it feels). I am 59 years old now and have been through marrige, childbirth, divorce, loss of loved ones, and yet I still wonder on what day I will suddenly feel the urge to give up my jeans, wear double-knit pants and join my proper place with the "older" generation that my own parents seemed to have joined in their early 30's. I still feel like a young girl and am positively amazed, on a daily basis, that I have two grown & married daughters, and am now a Grandmother to their children (thank you SO much for Chloe'!). After all, I am still best friends with my first childhood friend, and that began 54 years ago. Do we ever feel we've grown up and changed? My guess is that only others can objectively look at us and say that with any certainty. As for me, I'll stick with believing in my heart that I've not really changed, despite any evidence to the contrary.