Friday, March 7, 2008

The Other Me

Have you ever felt like, as you grew older, that along with the so-called wisdom you've gained, that you've also perhaps lost a little bit of yourself as well? I know that sounds a bit confusing, so let me explain. As I slowly (though not quite slowly enough) waltz toward my - ack! - 39th birthday, I find myself comparing me now to the me that was 10, 15, or 20 years ago.

Twenty years ago I was, what I would like to think, though I'm fairly certain I'm living in denial, a fairly typical 18 year old. I was pretty responsible in that I had a job, an apartment or mobile home depending on which part of my 18th year you choose to examine, and a car. I loved to go out with my friends, "cruise the square", and just have fun (all while totally sober and straight, if you can believe that). I enjoyed being carefree and having no responsibility for anyone other than myself. I didn't always make the best choices, but I lived through the bad ones and learned a lesson or two. I wasn't looking into the future because I was, as most all 18 year olds are, immortal and invincible.

Fifteen years ago I was the mother of an almost 2 year old absolutely beautiful little girl, and I can say that because I'M NOT BIASED AT ALL. I also had a part time job, a really nice home, a husband, and I was completely miserable so I got out. I couldn't tell you what I wanted, but I knew that what I had wasn't it. So off I went in search of something different, still responsible for my daughter, but still young enough to have the guts to go out and get what I wanted, even if I wasn't quite sure what that was.

Ten years ago, I was the single parent of my daughter and a totally smart and handsome 1 year old little boy, and I can say that because I'M NOT BIASED AT ALL. I worked a full time and a part time job, had a car, a townhome, and knew that I loved not having to deal with another adult in my life, other than at work. I was happy, even though I lived in a town where 3/4 of the residents were related in some way to my son's father and refused to even acknowledge that I existed. That was okay for me though, because I now knew that I wasn't a doormat and didn't need to have anyone with me to make it because I could do it myself.

I'm now a wife, the parent of 4 children (2 of them are 'step', though we refuse to look at it in that manner), I work full time, have a home, a car, and I wonder where the fight in me went. I've discovered that I'm passionate (Kenin says OCD) about the people and things that I find enjoyment in and in the things that I think. I hate that I'm so in tune with people that I sometimes must sugar coat the things that I say to the point that sometimes what comes out of my mouth is a twisted, almost-untrue version of what I really wanted to say. Why is it that in my life as a wife and mother I don't feel like the me that was? Is it that I've become such the caregiver to others that that's all that I am now? Has the me who takes care of everyone else has overrun the other parts of me? Do the old me's even exist anymore, or is this current me all that I am? Where did all the other me's go to?

Don't think I'm depressed, because I'm not, or at least I don't think I am. I've just been thinking lately about the me that is vs. the me's that were. There are days that I wonder just how in the hell I got where I am, and days that I'm thankful I'm not where I used to be.

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