Seven years. A quarter of my life. Though I didn't believe it would happen, I can honestly say that the person I was 7yrs ago is no longer the person I am today. Makes sense, the person I was 7yrs ago was only a fraction of a reflection of the person I was 7yrs prior to that date. If I get to see another 7yrs I wonder how much of a reflection of the person I am today will be staring at me in the mirror on that day.
On the eve of my latest evolution I'm left to contemplate on a few matters. Mostly I ask myself: Who was I? Who am I now? Who am I to become? In answering these questions I can't help but take a look at the people around me, those who I choose to spend my life with, and I know that if I am lucky enough to have these people in my life, well then I must be doing something right.
Birthdays have never been good for me. Mean reds. I imagine this one will be harder. I know that where I am I’ll make the most of it, I have people I love there. At the same time, I haven’t had a birthday away from my friends or my family in 9yrs. That’s a long time. It’s hard to know that on the day that’s supposed to be all about you the people you care about most in the world, the ones that make you who you are, aren’t going to be there.
Almost everyone I count as a real friend, I have come to know in this last quarter of my life. Those that came before that still remain are part of that rare breed of friend that you don't always get to see, but whom you couldn't imagine your life without. They're my family, and I don't know what I would do without them. I wonder how many of those I have come to known this last quarter will still be in my life 7yrs from now, how many of them will have become part of my family, how many of them I don't know what I would do without.
I've had that moment I fear, maybe most, where upon seeing someone that you would've considered a friend turn family you realise you have nothing more to say to them. It's in that moment you know that you're done. They were a part of who you were, and though they may have played a part in who you have become, they are no longer a part of who you are. A friend said to me today that he could imagine us still doing this in 50yrs, I only hope that I have another 50yrs in me, but I know if I do then the answer of my choosing would be, 'Absolutely.'
There are some who, if I had the choice, am almost certain will still be there. Then there are those that I met at the end of the last quarter, the beginning of this, who I never imagined would still be a part of my life, whom now, I can't imagine my life without. Seven years ago I started falling. Seven years on I haven't stopped. Sometimes my descent slows to an almost halt, only for it to speed out of my control all too soon. Just as I feel I have steadied myself, my feet are taken out from beneath me.
Then there are those moments of peace. When I feel as though I am exactly where I need to be with exactly who I need to be with. That's when the smile comes. That look in my eye as the silence falls upon me as I try to remember every single detail of the moment because I know I don't want to forget a thing. That smile that I can’t shift. In those moments I know exactly why I have those people in my life, even though it sometimes escapes me why they let me stay in theirs.
And what of me? 7yrs on, who am I? There are of course some things that still remain to be done, things that haven't gone away despite the passage of time. Places I need to see. Achievements I still want to accomplish. But I haven’t done too badly. My thirst for adventure and learning has not lessened over the years. I have beautiful kids, that though they’re not technically mine, I couldn’t love more. My angels. Looking around at the faces of the people I have surrounded myself with, I honestly couldn't ask for more.
I have become a person they want in their lives, helps me believe I'm the person I need to be. Though I sometimes find the need to apologise for the actions I have taken, I find myself unable to apologise for the person I am. It has taken me a lifetime to accept the choices I have made and realise that all I can be is who I am, and all I can do is try to be the person I can be. I know that there are still expectations of me, I have them of myself, and even if I am unsure if I will ever meet those expectations I hope that I am never a disappointment.
I saw the title of an article the other day, 'What advice would you give to a 21yr old woman?' Admittedly, the women they were asking this question to are older than I am now, and I'm sure they'd have a lot to say to a 28yr old woman too, but still it's an interesting question. Knowing what I know now, what advice would I give myself then?
That those whom you least expect to stick around will surprise you. That you will have your heart broken by those you care about the most, and you will have the strength to take them back and go on loving them. That if God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. That a gesture as seemingly small and simple as a hug can make the biggest of problems pale in comparison. That you are who you are and you should make no apologies for that because those that matter will love you, not in spite of who you are, but because of who you are.
Seven more years. I can only wish I am blessed enough to have the people I know today for another seven more years.