Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More Clearly Myself

We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.
Lynn Hall
Do you ever find yourself living life and suddenly realize how much you've changed from your "previous self"? It happens regularly for me, often spurred on by the most commonplace things.
I asked the waitress to change the station playing Nicky Minaj's most recent song (yup, that one) because it was foul. We were at a sushi restaurant. Whatever happened to the classics? Windchimes by the River and Pan Flute guys, on repeat? Bring those back please. Wanting something and finding nothing wrong in asking for it- that's not something I would've expected to see from my previous self. I would've just kept quiet.

When someone asks me for directions in a neighborhood I'm only passing through myself... and I give them directions like I live there. I realize that I must look like a local, since they chose to ask me out of all the people to walk by them in the past two minutes. I remember I gave my first directions out when I lived here for only a month (and barely knew how to get home myself). I called Tom all excited, and asked if I was a New Yorker yet. I think he said not yet.

Being told by my family or friends from anywhere other than NYC that I walk so fast (or talk too fast, or am so busy, etc). It's completely true, I rarely am able to find a moment of calm, everything here is so hurried. Even at home, in complete silence, the factory outside has a beeping forklift backing up, cars honking, radiator hissing and banging. At 3 am, you can still hear the train rumbling by a block away. Some of my favorite memories of the year working in the country before moving here involve a cup of coffee on the back porch, relaxing as the sun rose. 
It's still a shock to me whenever we call a cab or interact with anyone who is Mexican/Puerto Rican/ Dominican (etc) and they assume I can speak or understand Spanish. I know that this is because I no longer have that "I have no idea what is being said around me" look on my face and oftentimes laugh along because I do have a decent idea what the topic is. At least I fit in, and will hopefully have some more Spanish under my belt before we return to Puerto Rico this summer.

I look around my home and realize that I never really was the type to dream about my future husband, kids, home and domesticity. But I kind of am rocking the whole wife thing. This morning we were talking about life insurance and last night want on a date to come home and do dishes. I woke at 6am(!?!) and made breakfast. My house is usually clean and stocked, and I wasn't an especially tidy or organized person up until I moved out on my own.
But. why? These all add up to a substantially different person from who I was even 5 years ago.

Growing up I wasn't really taught to be social or confident. To be fair, there wasn't another child around for miles around, so a lot of my childhood was spent with adults or playing outdoors. In grade school, little kids can get along with everyone, for a while. But when I reached 5th & 6th grade, AKA the awkward years, I suddenly found out that I didn't know how to talk to people. In the years when subgroups were formed, I fit nowhere. I wasn't into sports, my studies, fashion or really exceptional in any way. I was just quiet. Which led to an angsty teenager that then faded into a shy "nice enough" college student that didn't have much self esteem.

How things have changed. I'm reminded of this when I run into someone I haven't seen since college, high school, and especially grade school. When someone says 'Wow- you've changed so much" I realize that I just grew up. Life happens, and while I'm sure I would be different had I lived on a farm or in a suburb, it would've happened eventually. Life's trials and triumphs- struggling to make ends meet, learning how to live with roommates (and then a husband), then making it through two pregnancies that ended earlier than they should've. Learning how to be married and budget and plan and pray- all of it changed me. And while changing usually happens gradually, this year I can visibly see the changes in myself.

So tell me...
Are you different than you were 5 years ago?
What would be the biggest difference?


  1. Loved this post. The things that changed for me changed out of necessity. From the time I went to college I never lived in the same town (or sometimes even the same state) as my parents, but in the last few years after Dad passed away Mom has needed more help. Today I live five minutes away and see or talk to her every day.

    For the past few years my son has struggled socially at school. After watching his grades fall and his personality change, we pulled him out of public school at the end of last year. I never pictured myself juggling a full-time job and homeschooling but here I am, putting together his study list for today before my first conference call.

    Sometimes it's good to stop and look at how far you've come. And sometimes it points out directions that need a bit of correction. Right now it's all good, but thanks for the reminder to check in!

    1. It's good to think back on the why and hows of what works for you/ If homeschooling and working full time is best for you and your son, great! Not everything fits into the cookie-cutter WFH, SAHM or working mother molds that people hear about more often :)

  2. This post resonated with me a lot. We moved from Indiana to Philadelphia almost 3 years ago (not 5, but long enough to make a difference) after not being here since high school, and I realize how much difference there is between the terms "You've changed so much!" and "You've grown up so much!" If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to quote you and this post in a post for my own blog <3

    1. I'm glad to hear that, and of course, feel free to link back to this post :)

  3. Good job on rockin' the whole wife thing:). Great post. 5 years ago, yikes I was in a whole different, terrifyingly stressful place. It is good to see where God has brought me FROM to remember where He is going to take me:). Thanks Farin.

    1. I bet everyone has those moments of shock when looking back 5 years. Just goes to show you that despite the troubles and stumbling blocks of today, He provided a way out of the 'terrifying stressful' place you were in. Thanks for stopping by :)


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