Thirty-six years ago today, I was about to be sprung from my mom's womb.
The question is not how many lives have been affected by my presence, but how has my life changed over the last three and a half plus decades?
Thirty years ago, I was six. I'd just survived a massive head lice infestation. Cure: to lop off my thick, straight, beautiful, brown, down-to-the-middle-of-my-back hair. I was an 80s child in a shag 70s haircut. Gone.
It was a travesty from which I would never, ever recover. My hair would never again reach that length...nor shoulder-length, for that matter.
Twenty years ago, I was sixteen. I was in the throes of experiencing the bitterest disappointment a high school sophomore could - the inability to obtain my drivers' license. The Iowa Department of Transportation was not administering driving tests on my birthday. I would have to come back another day.
It certainly wasn't the first disappointment I'd experienced, and it certainly wouldn't be the last.
Fifteen years ago, I'd just turned twenty-one. My parents drove nearly two hours (on a weeknight) to take out me to Red Lobster in Ames, Iowa. I ordered my first alcoholic beverage (strawberry daiquiri). Today, they took me to Dairy Queen to ice cream. I guess it just goes to show: no matter how much I slander and libel my parents, they're still pretty awesome.
Ten years ago, I was twenty-six. I was a mom of a two-year-old toddler and a one-month-old infant. I was tired, overweight, and postpartum'd. I was on maternity leave in my second year of teaching. I was so busy establishing a career and growing babies that I didn't have the energy to contemplate my professional or personal happiness too deeply. I figured the contentment would come because I was "doing things by the book".
Five years ago, I was thirty-one. We just moved to Iowa from Minnesota about nine months before. I was teaching at my old high school...I was living in my hometown...I was close to my parents. Life seemed shiny and new; the novelty hadn't worn off yet.
And now, at thirty-six years, I know more than I did back then, but there is less I am now sure of. I have not found my dream job yet. I am only just beginning to understand the enormous responsibilities that come with raising young people. I've learned that there are some things in this world that are just not worth the trouble they cause. I take my diet and exercise much more seriously now. I've grown more mellow in some way and more cynical in others.
I cannot even begin to predict what five more years will hold for me.