The first time I created a “Who I Am” scrapbook, my final page was completed twenty-two months after the first page. I wrote:
As I finish this scrapbook…I contemplate all the blessings I have had in my life in my first 33 years. So many of the dreams I had as a child and a teenager have been realized. I wonder where my life will take me in the years to come, and I think about the goals I have for the future. Some are more realistic than others, but they are all worth being written on this page. Where will I be in ten, twenty, thirty years? Who will I be? Only time will tell.
Ah, younger Dana. That was so passive of me, thinking only time will tell. While I don’t have control over everything that happens in my life, I certainly have some. I don’t love the words “dreams” and “wishes,” because those also denote a passivity that didn’t seem to bother younger me.
I wrote of my dreams fulfilled: married to a man I love, a mother of two healthy children, a home owner, hobbies I enjoy, a good relationship with my parents and sister, wonderful friends, girls’ weekends, family vacations, and good health.
Okay, younger Dana. Those aren’t bad. I would even categorize the first two as actual dreams fulfilled, since I remember wanting those things when I was a kid.
The wishes for the future are more interesting to me; my old scrapbook is an unburied time capsule that I can peek into anytime I choose. These were my wishes for the future twelve years ago, and how they have been realized:
A marriage that grows even stronger
It has, and still does. I look forward to spending my empty nest years with my best friend.
Happy, successful children, and staying involved in their lives
So far, so good. One just finished her first semester of college, and one is a sophomore in high school. I’m staying involved enough; the college freshman and I have a ninety day Snapchat streak as an easy way to keep in touch while she’s away. I hope that we will continue to be close as they grow into adults and leave the nest.
Decorating and furnishing my own home
This one made me laugh, because it’s taken years to be in a place where I could do what I wanted in my home. Our kitchen remodel was the inspiration for starting this blog, and I love making our home look good and feel cozy. I say this as I sit wrapped in a blanket – my home may be cozy, but I am always freezing!
Creating my own business
This was a more far-fetched wish, but I have realized it to some extent with the creation of my own space here. I’ve been able to springboard the blog into writing pieces for anthologies, other websites, and magazines. I would still love to fulfill this wish in another way, although I’m not sure how. I often wonder what I will do when I’m an empty-nester and my gig as a stay-at-home mom is up.
Check! While there are still many places I hope to see, Matt and I have traveled to some amazing places – among them Rome, Venice, Florence, the Swiss Alps, San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, and New Orleans. The kids have been with us on almost every trip, and I love discovering new places with them. I look forward to traveling to Europe again when Gwen studies abroad, and to seeing more of the United States with my favorite travel companion.
Aging gracefully and exercising
Ha! I’m trying. I didn’t exercise at all twelve years ago, and now I exercise five days a week. The aging gracefully part is both physical and mental. I’m doing Pilates to stay limber and protect my core and back, and I feel confident in my skin. I know that may be more challenging as I age, but I strive to embrace where I am.
Being content with my life
I love that younger me listed this as a wish for the future. Right now I am content with my life, and that is my number one wish for the future. Everything else falls into place behind that contentment.
I wish to continue choosing to be happy.
This post completes the year-long Who I Am project, a written record of the pieces that make up my story. If you’ve joined me on this writing journey, by either writing on your own or reading my story, thank you. I am currently creating a Who I Am book with all twelve posts, so that my children, grandchildren, and great-children will have a tangible record of my memories. I look forward to sharing it with you next month!