My youngest brother is getting married this fall to a lovely young woman. Aside from being happy and excited for them, I am happy and excited that the wedding will be in an exotic destination, one that requires that I dig out my expired passport and have it renewed.
I filled out the forms, and opened the passport to take a look at 25 year old me.
I had a great job and a great husband and an uncomplicated life and yet, I managed to get almost nothing right. Except the hair.
I did my job well, but not as well as I could have. I loved my husband, but not as well as I could have. I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and never ate and exercised less than that. I took smooth skin for granted and tanned with abandon.
Youth is wasted on the young. True that.
I didn't know shit, except that I didn't know shit. I was incredibly self conscious and scared and unsure. I pretended to know more than I did and, looking back, I wonder if I fooled anyone but myself.
I know better now. Maybe 'know' isn't the right word; maybe it's that I understand more now. I understand what love is, and what loss is. I understand what a gift my health is. I understand that wrinkles and meat aprons and spider veins aren't fading youth, but the hard earned hallmarks of simply living life. I find contentment in contentment, fulfillment in a job well done, love in butterfly kisses from small children.
I could give me at twenty-five all sorts of wonderful advice - Stop smoking. Start running. Be kind. Love yourself. But those are all lessons that can only be learned by living. By failing and crying about it and picking yourself up and moving on. By losing. By looking in the mirror one day and seeing gray hair and saggy skin and saying 'oh, well' instead of 'oh, no'.
I wouldn't trade forty for twenty-five, not for the world.
Except for the hair. I'd definitely take the hair.
2 weeks ago