|Victoria Beckham for Vouge - March 2010|
Ten years ago I was on the brink of a serious and oh-so exciting transition. College lay ahead of me like a beautiful new fresh start, a chance to claim my individuality and take on the world. I was fearless, open to whatever challenges that dared to present itself. I had a thick, shiny sword of cast-iron naiveté, a never-ending source of energy, and an ambition that rivaled any smart, glossy-haired Senior that came before me. All I needed was an all-nighter in a haunting, dimly lit university library to create my masterpiece of a research paper and a raging frat party to get me started. The future was wide open.
And ten years later, I'm sitting here in my over-sized underpants taking comfort in my $6 bottle glass of wine, wondering where that skinny little sprite of a girl with the sparkle in her eye and pep-in-her-step went.
Sometimes, I feel like I let her down.
By now she was supposed to be in shoes that weren't on sale at Target and talking on her fancy phone to important people about urgent and slightly scandalous matters.
But with each new dose of reality and exposed corner of world come to light, she stumbled and waned a little more. As friends chose toxic personalities or substances over destinies; as cruel or selfish actions revealed the true identities of trusted counterparts; as the world proved unbalanced in favor of the greedy and the corrupt; and as admired figure-heads crumbled behind their masks because their lies proved heavier than their painted and polished facades, she found herself trying to right the wrongs and lead the weary. She tried to always do her best and trudge forward. She found it heavy, frustrating, and thankless. She hoped one day it would pay off. In the end, she all she had were many sleepless nights and a pile of resentment.
But with each little crack in her shell, she found the good people who were there to patch her up. With each rejection she found a new strength. She discovered the beautiful things hidden beneath the veneered layers and appreciated more the work that was done out of responsibility and selflessness of others. She discovered humility. She looked up and saw the lightly trodden trail off the beaten path was where she needed to explore, and along the way she met new, wonderful people at every turn; even a few who showed up though she thought they were lost. She pushed herself harder than she ever thought possible. Her better-half, best friends, and closest family members created a net of much needed support.
And she found her Target shoes fit her just fine. As did her over-sized underpants.
Every day, I look out for that gangly, gap-toothed spaz and the chance to look her in the eye. Because with each new squiggly little wrinkle or hair that looks questionably grey, I need to know my wide-eyed, excited, and slightly stupid self is still in there. In the moments where I'm truly in my element, I'm pretty sure she's there.
So as another November 13th comes and goes, I'll be another year older - and, hopefully, another year wiser. I'm sad to say this past year is coming to an underwhelming and stressful close; but I've learned a lot about myself and even more about what I want out of life. Part of that is simplifying. Learning to say "No." Making time for special people. Breathing. Praying. Listening. Lots and lots more hugs. And waffles.
Because the art of aging gracefully
|[Audrey Hepburn on the set of 'How to Steal a Million']|
starts with knowing your fears are sillier than you are.
And never - ever - refusing the excuse to eat cake, of course.
Hugs & High Fives,