Monday, July 16, 2012


My sister is in the process of packing up her life and moving overseas, and in the process is culling, storing and selling a lot of stuff. I was pressed into service giving her a hand when from the bowels of a seriously deep closet came a storage box of my stuff that I was surprised to find. In it was a fairly standard array of items one might expect to uncover from their past, including yearbooks, childhood toys (hey Teddy!), various trophies and certificates of achievement (not special) and a pile of snapshots.

So I spent the afternoon neglecting my sisterly duties, and instead dove headfirst into my past. I read my diaries from ages 13-16 and laughed my ass off at myself. My chief concerns were boys and sports and who of my friends was my best friend at the time (prosaic!). I was often writing to avoid cleaning my room. Or to proclaim my utter boredom with school (wishing for summer!) or summer (waiting to go back to school). There were some seriously sad entries and ones that made me realize where certain parts of my personality have their roots. It was enlightening, and weird. In many ways, I am still that girl. In others, I barely recognize my younger self. I ended that day feeling like I had stepped out of my own Back to the Future, and it was really disconcerting. Faces and places I hadn't thought of for years floated in my peripheral vision like ghosts. I had to remind myself that I am thirty mumble mumble years old and literally hundreds of miles away from my dusty bedroom with its steeply angled ceiling and creaky floors, listening to HFS on my radio/tape deck and waiting for my real life to begin.

Real life is canoeing with my cute husband!

I have been accused of not being sentimental. I'm generally a live for the now, look to the future kind of gal, and my semi-gypsy lifestyle has made it necessary to periodically jettison much of the physical detritus that tends to build up over time. But I am happy to have found this unexpected windfall from my teen years. It reminded me that it is important to remember where you came from, even if it's so you can avoid going back.  I won't be putting my certificates of achievement up on the wall, but I sure as hell will keep my diaries on hand for a good laugh now and then.

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