I will never be 5 again.
When I was 5, I lived in a medium-sized town in Iowa. My parents never had a lot of money, but we always had everything we needed. I don’t remember ever feeling like I “didn’t have enough”, because my parents made sure that our lives were full of love, laughter, and learning. I remember going to my first day of kindergarten, anxious about meeting my new teacher, but excited to be in the “big kids’ school”. We had graham crackers and milk every afternoon, and got to take naps in school. I was a happy kid, and life was innocent.
I will never be 10 again.
When I was 10, I rode horses like I was glued to them. I was still blonde, I was very much a tomboy, and climbed trees, skittered down cliffs, made mud-pies and walked or rode my bike everywhere. We never locked our doors, we were told to be “home when the street lights come on”, and we walked to school, rain or shine, fall, winter and spring. We played at the park all day in the summer, or went all the way across our town to the pool to hang out and swim for hours on end. I was very outgoing and independent. I spoke my mind, and didn’t worry about what people thought of me.
I will never be 15 again.
When I was 15, my family had moved to North Dakota 4 years earlier, and I was a sophomore in high school. It was not one of my best years, and I struggled, being an “outsider” in a small town. My best friend and I would escape our town as often as we could, or simply take off on long walks around our town, talking, laughing, hanging out. There weren’t a whole lot of choices, but we did the best we could, with what we had.
I will never be 20 again.
When I was 20, I was wild. I ran… all the time. My best friend and I were social butterflies, with a ton of friends, in a dozen different social cliques. We could blend from one group to another, always having something to talk and laugh about. I was also a party girl. I smoked a lot, drank a lot, and stayed out – a lot. I had left college, knowing that it wasn’t the right place for me, but not knowing where that “right place” was, I simply lived, as fully as I could. Sowing my wild oats was the theme of my summer, and I didn’t pay much attention to consequences. The end of the summer was rather a crash, with ultimatums from my parents, a journey to a far-away state, trying to get my life straightened out, and learning that I was pregnant with my first child. This age was the age of life-changing experiences, for me, and I can honestly say that this year was the year that I hit bottom – for me. There was nowhere to go but up.
~~~~~To Be Continued