For me it happened on the beaches of India as I watched the dolphins dance off shore. The close friends I grew up with experienced it in tears, pregnancy (with her fourth child), and visiting her country of birth. Some feared it, some forgot about it - we all faced it. Most of you have at one time, too... for those born in 1978, this is the year we turn 30. Already? Seriously?
In talking with those of "my" generation, I've discovered a myrad of feelings about it. One girl who felt like it fit and anticipated it greatly. Another who hasn't crossed that line yet and is contemplating which tatoo, piercing, and drink will accompany the celebration she doesn't want to have. I myself experienced being the sum of all fears for an 18 year old girl who confided to me in horror "I don't want to be like, 30, and not married!" I don't think I have been someone's biggest fear in the flesh before... it still makes me laugh.
The last post was about our future selves condemning our present selves. This post is to suggest that our past selves may also influence us. In many ways, I remember 16 year old Sandra - her emotions, what she looked like, what she thought was funny, what she was going through. I remember her, we are similar... but I am not the same as she. I have lived her lifetime again, almost... I should not be the same.
She is still alive in me, and I love snippets of memory that remind me of her. She focuses me sometimes, reminds me what's important, she knows how to dream, she is extrememly passionate. But she is not allowed to condemn me for who I've become. I have seen more, faced more, experienced more, lived more...
Though I don't have all the things nor have lived all the things she would have wanted at my age, I have and experienced many things she never dreamed. We don't always get to choose the roads available to us, and few of mine were ones she would have chosen. But my 30 year old self is learning that it's not as much the road traveled as it is how you journey along that road. Sometimes the best we can do is to scatter seeds along the way, for flowers we will never see bloom, for we will no longer be there when they do. At least, we won't be who we were when we planted them. Letting go of seed requires an open hand.
So, I'm not who I thought I would be... most of the time I'm ok with that. And I think that if I could explain it to her why so many of her dreams haven't come true yet, she'd understand. And then she'd reach her hand into a pile of seed and throw it into the wind ... just like me.