There was a time in my life when I knew everything. When I was 19 years old, I knew how to solve homelessness and poverty, where the best place was to get free beer, the liquor store least likely to card me, and where to bum cigarettes when I was out of them. I was usually out of them.
Back then, I knew fashion, friends. Seriously. Geometric-patterned sweaters, stirrup pants, and shoulder pads. I knew that showing your belly button in the company of strangers was something understood, even when not so much so by the adults around me. Check it out. The 80’s were glorious. I don’t care what they say.
When I was 19, I was an adult. I voted, and everything. Or, I could have voted, anyway.
I’d traveled from San Francisco to Jersey by redeye flight, and by White Nissan Pulsar from Jersey to Virginia, Tennessee, the Grand Canyon, Texas, Las Vegas, and back to San Fran with my friend. Without cellphones. We survived driving through Georgia in the rain with no windshield wipers, a pervert blue van guy holding a photo of his penis out the window.
I’d lived through “No, you can’t take a shower! Just get out!” I’d soon live through the freak-out over Y2K.
When I was 19, I owned the world. Everything that mattered was ahead and behind and I could do whatever I wanted.
The 80’s. Or, When I Was 19 and Knew Everything. When I was 19, the 80’s were almost over, by the way.
Soon its fashion would be replaced by ripped Levis and flannel and Troll Dolls coming back. The fake tans from the tanning beds were still in, though, which explains my unnaturally-orange orange face below.
Today, I hope that he grows up in The Land of Empathy and Wonder.
I wanted to die young back then.
Today, I want to live as many days as I can and lie awake at night, thinking about my boobs, and cancer.
Then, I told my friend that I hoped I’d never have “a retarded baby.”
Today, I’d punch somebody for calling my baby the r-word, and feel like the luckiest mama on the planet. I am, after all. The luckiest mom.
When I was 19, I thought period cramps were for wimpy girls.
Now, I realize that they’re nature’s way of making me realize that once, I knew nothing and that cramps and laundry are a pain in the literal ass.
When I was 19, I thought I knew Love. I thought I knew speaking out for what’s right.
Today, I know Love. And it wasn’t with the bad boy who wanted to have fun more than he wanted me.
When I was 19 and knew everything, I hadn’t yet met my son. I hadn’t yet met the woman who gave birth to me and gave me away. I hadn’t met my 1/2 sister, and I hadn’t realized that work takes work.
That life takes work.
That Big Huge Feelings do, as well.
When I was 19 and knew everything, I didn’t yet realize that the intense lights that come to us from inside -and out- would have meaning and import above all that I knew. Above all that I felt.
I used to tell my step-daughter, when she lived with us, that her life, in just five years, would look so different that she wouldn’t recognize it. Today, I think she sees that.
Today, I think that I do as well.
Yesterday’s thoughts of wishing the world would open up and swallow us whole become tomorrow’s stories of how “I once knew…”
Here’s to appreciating today, friends. To knowing that whatever we knew yesterday and that whatever we know today are soon tomorrow’s misconceptions.
Or, tomorrow’s foundations.
That choice. That’s the one up to us, every single day, whether we’re 19, or 47. What we do in the next five minutes. What we do in the all of the nexts. Matters.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post with “When I was 19…”
Mimi from Mimi Time at http://mimisager.com/
and Vidya from Coffee with Me at http://mi.vidyasury.com/