2009 has been a difficult year for me. Of course I have a lot to be thankful for - I experienced more love and joy and exultation in 2009 than I have in my entire life, and as far as I know I wasn't the victim of any violent crimes or disease or anything equally terrible - but that doesn't mean there weren't times when I thought to myself, Can I get through this? Because there were plenty of them.
I'm not going to write a detailed post here about all that I've experienced in 2009 - I'm saving that post for the very end of December - but I have been thinking a lot about what I can take away from this year. I learned a lot of things, but I think all the little things I learned can generally be grouped under one big umbrella, and that umbrella is called: Hindsight is 20/20. (It's an awesome umbrella, like one of those huge golf ones that would never deign to invert in the wind. I have never owned such an umbrella, so I guess I should now consider myself lucky.)
"Hindsight is 20/20" just might be the most brilliant of all wisdom nuggets, because it's actually doubly meaningful. The thing about "hindsight is 20/20" is that you can't understand it until later. You can't just read or hear it and go, "Yeah, duh, everyone knows that. It's a truism." It's something you have to actually live to understand. You can only understand it - wait for it - in hindsight. Brilliant, right? And that is the huge fucking thing I learned this year.
Last year at this time, I was a different person. I know that now, but I couldn't have known it then. I couldn't have known then just how naïve I was, or how sweet, or how innocent, or how immature. Because I was all those things; I was all those things before I was unemployed for three months and found myself largely depressed because of it. Before I got my first job and felt the happiest I had felt in months. Before I broke up with my boyfriend - not twice but thrice - and finally realized that I was going through my first true fucking heartbreak. Who I was in 2008 - that person existed before I realized that sometimes living your dream can mean risking a very unwelcome awakening.
The point is that it was impossible for me to realize in December 2008 that the next year would bring a lot of changes, and not all of them easy. I had no idea that in a year's time I would be mourning for the parts of myself that were so natural to me that they went totally unnoticed at the time. Of course now, in hindsight, I can clearly see 2008's version of me - sweet, innocent, loving, hopeful, clueless - and my late 2009 self fears that those qualities might be gone forever.
It's not fair, really. What a fucked up way to operate things, universe. So people aren't allowed to really, fully appreciate the good things about their lives until those things have gone missing? I mean is this just what it feels like to grow up? Because if so, fuck that. No wonder people cling to their youth like a ladybug clings to a leaf during a tornado - because if this is what it feels like to grow up, then it really fucking sucks. Or, another alternative - perhaps this is just what it feels like to get over a broken heart. If that's what it is, then OK, universe, I can deal with it - as long as you promise that it won't feel like this forever, and that one day I will look in the mirror and still see at least a bit of my pre-2009 self looking back at me.
Some people might say that I'm just futilely trying to live in the past. But that's not it; I don't want to erase the past year, or go back to before it happened, or live out my glory days as a 22-year-old living in the South or something like that. If I had the option to switch lives with the 2008 version of me, I still wouldn't do it. It's just that I feel like there are these youthful parts of myself that I want back because I feel like they are rightfully mine to keep forever - parts that were taken from me by bouts of heartache and depression and adulthood. The fucking scariest part is that I don't know if I can get them back; what if they really are stuck in the past, and trying to regain my ownership of them is just as pointless as trying to fill a cracked snow globe with water? Or, if they're not stuck in the past, then where are they? How do I get to them?
Or maybe they've been here all along, and I just can't see them. If the universe would shine some light on them, that would be much appreciated. I'll even move my bigass umbrella out of the way. Deal?
Because I'm really too young to feel so fucking old.
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