This morning I did research on myself, my former self from another era that is. This girl is the early twenties version of me. I've changed a lot over time. Although, I once saw the intro to an episode of Modern Family where Claire, the mother, said people don’t change. According to her, we remain largely the same except for a 10% margin of wiggle room. It’s a small area of change to work with.
Prior to beginning this project, I was clear on one thing: I am an entirely different person. If I were to meet my 22 year-old self for a cocktail, we’d have a lot to talk about. Our life, our worries, our problems, our desires, our self-esteem, nothing would be the same. This stark contrast is why I thought we have a larger margin to play with when it comes to our evolution.
When you research yourself it feels like being on a date with an old friend. At first, you are removed. This is another life. Your hair is different, your clothes are different, there’s a lot of separation between you and that person... the one in all those old college Facebook photos. You remain at arms length from the more self-aware person you are in present day.
And then, once you’ve gathered up all those old materials, a story will tickle the corner of your brain. You will be immediately transported to that moment. The clothes, the hair, the makeup… it all becomes instantly yours again. It's as close to you as it was the day you were there. The old sentiments bubble up and all of a sudden that 10% wiggle room starts sounding quite large. You come to realize in so many ways, you’re still you.
Writing about this time is really special for me. I spent most of that era wanting things that had nothing to do with my present. I was outside of the moment, yearning for a future me who would figure out how to properly straighten her hair, lose 5 pounds and start living the life I was dreaming about. This is foolish in the sweetest of ways, and I have so much more compassion for who I was because of it. I still dream like that, regardless of my how good my present world is. My life today is the manifestation of all those latent desires from my early twenties. Of course, there’s always that margin of error, that little space in our minds that wants to be elsewhere.
So this project, which may or may not ever be public, is for myself. It’s a debt to pay to my younger comrade who was unappreciative of how awesome it is to be young and unsolved. In my own secular way, it’s a commune with the divine gods of the early twenties, a trip back in time to a life I wanted desperately to fast forward. But mostly, it's a long love letter to myself on how to mind the gap and diminish that margin of error that fantasizes about the future.
Cheers to you love,