Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How Sweet It Is to Not Be In Middle School Anymore

"Looking back, I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was, too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all." Katherine Mansfield

I found myself reading through some of my old journals this afternoon as I tended to the last little bit of organizational work related to moving our office out of our bedroom and into the basement.

I began journaling in seventh grade, and my little yellow journal--complete with a combination-protected lock--was full of middle school drama, boy angst, and terrible, terrible poetry.

As I matured, the content remained largely the same: social events and nuance, lots of rambling about boys and more boys, but thankfully, no more poetry! The perspective changed, though, as I grew older and experienced more of the world. My observations were less literal and more analytical, my expectations were more guarded and less gushing, my devotion to the opposite gender evolved greater selectivity (thank goodness), and my questions and fears and frustrations in life were more likely to revolve around career paths and major life decisions rather than with whom I'd be attending the next dance or youth group event. Though I suppose those were major life decisions at the time--everything seems to be a matter of life or death at the uncertain age of thirteen.

I found this entry from the summer of '97, between my freshman and sophomore year of college, one year before I would meet Josh:

"God is sovereign...I believe that. Why do I worry about BOYS?!!? or my future. God knows what's in store for me. If I have a husband...who it is...if I'll date before I meet him...where I'll meet him...when..."

At the time, I could not possibly have conceived of the events that would transpire over the next year to bring my life together with Josh's. I returned to school in Boston that fall and then endured a grueling semester that wore me down on a number of levels; I ended up withdrawing from classes early in the second semester to really evaluate whether medical school and Boston and the path I was following were actually right for me; because I was out of school, I was able to extend the one week trip I was to take to Bolivia over spring break to work alongside a doctor and a team of volunteers with street children in La Paz to a three week trip, during which I ultimately decided to return to BU, pursue medical school, and date the doctor; strangely enough, the doctor is the one who connected me to the Wilson House where I lived when I returned to Boston, which happens to be the same house Josh was living in.

The rest, as they say, is history.

So it's funny to look back at those words now, knowing the outcome. It's strange to think back to the time when I didn't know what my life would look like. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. Little did I know that I was less than a year away from meeting my life-long companion.

Well, when Josh called this afternoon, I told him I was looking through my journals to figure out which ones had stories about us so I could save those and trash, or better yet, burn the rest. To my surprise, he vehemently opposed this idea, suggesting instead that I at least throw them into a box in our storage room so that maybe one day the kids could read them. I can hardly imagine anything more horrifying than Ben or Abby reading my awful sludge about boys I don't even remember now, about friendships that ended in the cruel twists of adolescence, or about all the spiritual striving I used to expend so much self-centered energy on.

However, I decided they might be useful to keep so that I can reassure myself when Ben or Abby comes home asking permission to go here or hang out with these people or attend this party or generally set out in the world away from my protective care with only the opposite gender on the brain. They may give me some much needed perspective. So perhaps I'll throw them in a box intended for my eyes only, and then once they graduate from college, I can host a ceremonial bonfire to officially obliterate all written evidence of my youth-induced mania.

Whatever the case, I am so supremely grateful to be a grown-up without all the peer-induced drama. And I suppose I'm also grateful for a record, twaddle or not, of where I was so that I can truly appreciate where I am.

Abby calls, so I think I'll begin by appreciating this windy, autumn afternoon with her.

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