Monday, January 30, 2012

Time Machine

We all have regrets, I think.  No matter who we are or what we've become.  Our experiences of the past make us who we are today, so they are all learning experiences, but there are always regrets.  We are lucky if they are relatively minor.

I regret that I wasn't more fearless as a kid.  Watching my kids grow up, I see them experiencing new things, making friends, figuring out their way and who they are.  Sometimes I see them second-guessing themselves.  Or nervous about what the other kids will think of them.  I've tried so hard to instill a certain confidence in them, and watching them feel insecure (even occasionally) is difficult.  It must be normal, something everyone goes through.  Sad.

When I was a kid I read all the Little House on the Prairie books.  I remember fantasizing about how I wish I could invent a time machine and go back to when Laura Ingalls was a little girl.  I would whisk her back to the 80's with me and show her the cars, the arcades, the television, and how easy it was to get candy now!

I have the same fantasy sometimes now, only it's of my time machine taking me back to the 80's and having a sit-down with myself.  Telling myself that it's all right that my crazy curly hair won't feather.  That it's okay that my mom won't let me wear eye shadow yet, because blue eye shadow is never a good idea.  That the boy I have a hopeless crush on isn't worth my heartache because he doesn't amount to anything amazing, and I end up with a WAY cooler guy anyway.

I would show myself pictures of my cutie hubby and my amazing little boys, and tell myself that I turn out to be a darn good mom.  And show evidence that some of the bitchy popular girls who act like I'm a nothing end up stuck in a dead-end world, unhappy and trapped.  And the girls that I thought were untouchable, too beautiful, too cool, are now just other women.  Women who have families and homes and worries, and who are friendly and normal and will enjoy my company.

I would try to encourage young me to not feel afraid.  To wear what I wanted to wear.  To embrace my own style.  To try out for solos in choir.  To enter a spelling bee.  To flirt.  To tell off people who were horrible to me.  To defend the other girls like me.  To make more friends.

It would have been nice.  Like that Brad Paisley song, "Letter to Me".

But as I sit here, I realize that if I had that time machine, I would like to visit myself 20 years from now, when I'm 61.  When I can see myself as a Grandma, letting my hair go gray, and wearing obnoxiously bright colors, and embracing the Christmas sweater.  Hopefully I would learn something from 61-year-old me, like how I'm comfortable with myself.  And I'm sure I won't be sitting there wishing I would have spent more time worrying about my weight in my 40's.  Or worrying about whether or not my house is clean enough.  I would like to sit with 61-year-old me and learn about what's really important.  Things like playing with the kids.  Long talks with the hubby.  Celebrations with extended family.  Giving time to friendships.

Now I'm regretting that I haven't invented a Time Machine.

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