To remain alive: My twentysomething identity

I don’t want to look back on my 20’s and wish for the power to edit.

I’ve seen pictures of myself from high school yesterdays and wonder why didn’t I see myself then as I can now.

I’d rather not reflect in hindsight and wish I’d flirted more and had more thrilling experiences. I don’t want to regret interactions and rewrite missed connections. I have a year and a half left until I’m no longer in my 20’s and there’s not much else I would say, “I need to get done.” For that I am grateful.  My circumstances have provided me the opportunity to be the woman my 13 year old self wanted to be someday.  I am the person my 24 year old self never dreamed of becoming. As I sit here on my bed, surrounded by the things I’ve painted, built, grown, or cared for I am not my surroundings.  My surroundings are a reflection of me.  The books, the watercolors, the plants, the journals — all are a symbol of my mark on this world.  Not in their worth, but in the story they tell. My body, like my belongings, are scarred with stories.  I can and will recall their origins if required or requested.

For being a woman in her 20’s I have lived a million years.

I need to live now because one day I will not.  Someday soon I will live at a lesser volume.  I will be confined to a chair with a machine for a kidney and I will be different.

I listen to the lives of people I meet and I don’t have their same regrets. I look at the faces of people from my past and would not replace mine with theirs if offered in exchange.  My life is my own and I will live it so the older me won’t try to again.  I will sip in my surroundings for my palette of now as well as for the recollections of then.  Today, much like all my tomorrows and not so many yesterdays, I am grateful to be in my now with only a brief thought of before or then.

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