If anyone had told me 20 years ago where I would be today, and what I would be doing I would have laughed. I suppose that is true of any 14-year-old, though. I am not who I was then. I enjoy things now that I despised then. I am a far cry from who I was in that time of my life.
Tomorrow I turn 34. Definitely not a milestone birthday, certainly many others have passed that number. But I was reflecting on my past as I was cutting silverskin off our supper for tomorrow and prepping the rub for them to sit in overnight. I was thinking that I was enjoying looking at recipes for the ribs and savouring the scent as I was slathering it all over that meat.
14 -year-old me did not like to cook. Or bake. Refused to try to learn. Begrudgingly made what was necessary at the insistence and fight with my mother. I would rather be reading. Or walking along the river. The June I turned 14, we had a dog that I loved walking along the dike. There was a park that edged along the North Thompson River right at our back yard and it was glorious to walk Shadow out there when I got the chance. Even better if I could go alone, without siblings.
I recall one failed (maybe, I think it still tasted delicious) attempt at brownies for a youth church function. Mom set out the recipe and I followed it. At the time, my mom bought (still does) a lot of her baking supplies in bulk. But the cocoa wasn’t labelled. I realized that I had made an error as the pan was in the oven and, instead of the smell of chocolate filling the house, there was the unmistakable scent of cinnamon. The treat was still at hit with the other youth, but I never forgot that. I always smell my cocoa before using it now.
But 14-year-old me would have been shocked that my faith has grown and developed in the way that it has. That I would be teaching my children a different way of living a life of faith than I was raised. She would be thrilled that I have lived across the country, I have put my toes in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. She would be overjoyed that I am married and still in love with my Co-director of Parenting. And that we have four amazing, wonderful, sometimes challenging children.
14-year-old me would be shocked to hear that I am running (voluntarily) a few times a week. Just to stay heart healthy. And that I am doing online coursework so that I can keep myself busy in a new way as the littles grow older.
But I feel that 14-year-old me would approve. The happy that has been experienced and found along the way is something that outweighs all the darker patches she would see as well. The sad, the lonely, the confused, and the soul searching. The growth experienced, and still (continually) happening, is exactly what 34-year-old me needs, and would make the me of decades past bust with pride.
Definitely not quite the direction 14-year-old me thought I would take, but I doubt that she really had a clear understanding or view of what she wanted as well. She thought she did. I now know better.
People love people. Faith is a living, breathing thing. Forgiveness is possible. Talking does wonders. Don’t second guess a decision after it’s made. Experiment with flavours. Try something new. Love like tomorrow may not come. Be content. Make your own happy. Enjoy the outside. Stand in the rain. Hug all the people.