Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Remembering Twenty-Five

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.
My first thought was, 'Wow, my hair looked great', followed by, 'Wow, I was so stupid'.

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.


  1. I might take 25 again, if I had the chance to do it knowing what I know now! But definitely not if I had to give up all that I've learned and experienced!

    I'd also quit smoking and definitely do some running (never let myself get up to 300 lbs) that has been hard to lose...still working on getting to a healthy weight.

    I'd finish college this time too...that has really hurt my career and ability to support my family.

    Great Post Kelly, thanks!

  2. That really was some rockin' hair. At 25, I had three little kids and a huge case of sleep deprivation.

  3. Look at my pretty girl......still just as pretty today!

  4. I love it! I still got your other post to publish in my blog, but in the last months it's been one thing after another! But I still want it to do it. Love reading you. x

  5. You look just the same!!! :)


  6. I read, at some point, that the frontal lobe of the brain is not fully developed until 25, allowing us to exercise adult judgment and imagine the consequences of our actions. At which point, I'd already married a reject, bought a house and had two kids and adopted something like six cats. I look back now and shake my head in wonder that nobody came and took my children and all the cats away and told me I needed to clean my damned dishes.

    My hair looked awful. In the end, what is important is that yours looked so nice.

  7. Somehow, even though I am still on the stupid side of 25 (and have done some stupid things to prove it, with just a few surprisingly smart moments thrown in), I'm very moved by this post. When I grow up, I want your attitude. :)

  8. What a great post and very wise words. I remember waking up on my 25th birthday and crying because I'd never expected that I would have a small baby, an unkind partner, and that everyday life would feel like a struggle. I'd had this idea before 25 that life would fall into place on its own but never did anything to make that happen. If I could go back, I would tell my 25 year old self that everything will be ok.

  9. What a warm, wonderful post of reminiscence, Kelly. You were beautiful then and you’re even lovelier today. :)

    Oh so many times I’ve thought about going back to my younger self and whispering (well, maybe a little bit of yelling—LOL) in her ear about all the things she could do to improve her life in the future. But then…after years of struggling, I’m truly happy with who I am today and the way my life turned out.

    So perhaps we’re meant to be young and foolish and learn along the way.

  10. I don't see a difference between the passport picture, and your Blogger picture. Spill the secrets!

  11. Look how hot you are! I love this post, especially: "I understand that wrinkles and meat aprons and spider veins aren't fading youth, but the hard earned hallmarks of simply living life." And not just because of the mention of the meat apron.

  12. You still have pretty hair! And, it's amazing how much we learn along the way! It makes life interesting & FUN!