Since the summer after my Freshman year at college, I have not spent more than a handful of days here. Coming back to much of the same sights, memories, and feelings I left behind so many years ago has hit me with a wave of nostalgia.... and a little bit of something else I can't quite put my finger on.
Back in 2004, as a high school senior, [of course] I knew everything. I thought I had life all figured out. You know, graduate with a poli sci major, go to law school, become an ambassador to some foreign nation, and eventually settle down at 30 and have a kid or two. We can all see how that worked out :)
The thing is, I thought I was happy. I was always out to prove myself, that I could be the prettiest, the skinniest, the ditziest, whatever. Looking back, I realize how superficial that happiness was. I wish I could go back to my 18-year old self, shake her, and tell her how unimportant all those silly things were. I am so grateful I went out to Utah for school. It gave me a fresh start to be the person I always wanted to be, instead of someone who I thought my friends wanted to be friends with. Maybe that is why there are still so few (but very genuine!!) friends I am still in contact with from DSHS. I guess I felt like while so many of my friends were stuck in the same patterns, same routines, I was breaking free of that and trying something new. I was 2000 miles away from my parents, siblings, everything I ever knew. And it made me into a really strong person that I could have never imagined I would turn into way back then.
Back in '04, the thought of running more than three miles terrified me. Hence why I did track for a year and couldn't bear the thought of running FIVE KILOMETERS for cross country. It seemed so unbearable. While I had a lot of friends who had gone to BYU, gotten married, and/or started having kids by the time I went out there, the thought of either of those happening to me was just not in my deck of cards. I remember the first time Mr. D took me to a ring store to look for an engagement ring, and they asked me to describe what type of ring I wanted and I HAD NO IDEA. And wedding dress shopping? I picked out the first dress I tried on. Colors? Mr. D liked blue and I did too. It still amazes me that I was able to make those kinds of decisions (okay, mostly the one about GETTING married) so young in my life. I look at 19 year olds and think... really?? Was I ever that young and naive??
Anyway, the point is, I am really happy with the way my life has gone thus far. Sure, there are certain things I would love to change [*cough* our current job/living situation] but overall as I look over my adult life and the growth I have experienced, I am really REALLY pleased. Content, even. I have very few regrets that certainly are trumped by all the wonderful decisions I have made in my life, and if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would keep everything the same. And as I reflect on those [good] decisions, they all revolve around one thing: The Gospel. Something that I keep coming back to and is truly the center of my life and everything that makes me happy. Sure, I would love to live next door (heck, even in the same state!!) as my darling sisters, but at least I know that after we pass on from this life, I can be with them (and of course Mr. D, little d, the Kevs, my parents and DK, etc...) forever. That's a really long time, you know?
To think about how much I have changed in eight years, mostly for the better, it is hard to imagine what the next eight will hold. More kids? A new career? Travel? A home or two? Who knows.
I am just so grateful that after all those awkward, terrible years of elementary and middle school... the insecure years of high school... the "starting to figure out my life" years of college, I am finally happy in my own skin. Stretch marks, saggy skin and all. :)
also, I love having long hair. Why was I never patient enough to try it out before?!?