“But time makes you bolder, even children get older, and I’m getting older, too.” -Fleetwood Mac
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how different my life looks today than it did in the past. We all constantly grow and change, but it’s not until we stop and look at our lives that we realize how different we are. Our priorities and goals change without us even realizing it, and that’s okay.
For instance, the header of my blog used to read, “drinking coffee while riding my bike while traveling the globe while reading my newest favorite book while raising the world’s coolest dogs”. Now it reads, “drinking coffee while trying to stay awake/become woke, positively impacting those around me, and raising the world’s coolest human and dogs”. Not completely different, but there are some changes there. I’m still drinking coffee, but now I’m drinking it to survive new parent sleep deprivation, and I’m not just trying to stay awake, I’m trying to become and stay woke. I still love to travel but I omitted it to highlight that I’m thinking more about how I can positively impact those around me (people and the environment) nowadays. Lastly, I’m still raising cool dogs but I also have the responsibility of raising a human being now too (don’t get me started on the weight of this responsibility. 7 months in and I still sometimes look around nervously and say, “I need an adult”).
Eight years ago if you asked me to describe myself in 2018, the woman writing this wouldn’t be who I described. I didn’t want kids, I was going to leave Iowa, I was going to be changing the world every day doing social work, and I was going to keep pursuing my dream of singing professionally. Well, I have a kid (she’s awesome. She’s better than me and you, and probably all of us combined), I’m happily living in Iowa (although the idea of leaving appeals to me from time to time, especially during the winter), I left the social work world after 2 years and am loving being in marketing, and I mostly just sing for an audience of 4 now. Would Elizabeth from eight years ago be cool with current Elizabeth? Probably not. I’m guessing I’d be livid that I didn’t follow the plan I had mapped out, and my stubborn ass would probably think of where I am today as a failure.
But that’s the great thing about getting older and wiser: we realize how foolish, naive, and stubborn we can be. Looking over past blog and social media posts, I want to time travel and lecture past me. I want to ask myself, “How did you not know better?” I was tempted this week to delete a social media post that made me look ignorant about an important social issue, but I resisted because it showed me how far I’d come since that post. I know I’m still ignorant about many things, but I have grown and matured in regards to the topic of the post, and I realized I shouldn’t try to forget that growth/change but embrace it.
I’m working on not beating myself up over the past or where I thought I’d be, and embracing and enjoying the person I am today. My life isn’t perfect, nor am I, but I like where I am and the path I’m on. Sometimes I have to repeat this to myself over and over in order to believe it because the urge to view where I am in life as a failure (fueled by my own expectations as well as what I perceive from social media and others) is strong, but I’m starting to have to repeat it less often. Sure, my goals and many of the things that I find important in life have changed (for example, as much as I enjoy theatre and would love to be in a performance again, I value the time I have to do freelance graphic design, go for walks with my family, and read books while snacking on Oreos more), but the me I am today is just as wonderful as the person I was in the past; I’m just a little smarter, a little more guarded to some things, and a little more of a homebody.
Who knows what me five years from now will be like, but I’m hoping I’m just as fond of her as I am of myself right now.