I Used To . . . But Now I

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my life has changed over the past few years – specifically, over the last 15 years – and I started to realize that some things are dramatically different about me, while others haven’t changed at all.  After a conversation with another instructor the other day, I thought I’d write a few of these down.  It’s odd seeing them expressed this way, but it’s interesting, too.

I used to . . .

Drive an adorable red and gold Toyota Camry (before they became a luxury sedan) with a sun roof and a cassette player.

 Now I . . .

Drive a big, blue Dodge Grand Caravan with a trailer hitch and a big patch of grey primer on the rear from where some jerk backed into me and took off without so much as a note on my window saying “sorry.”

I used to . . .

Complain when my size 6 pants got a little tight.  I’d skip meals, do sit ups mercilessly, and occasionally have bulimic episodes until I fit back into the pants comfortably.

Now I . . .

Fluctuate between a size 8 and a size 10, and even a 12 on occasion.  I have weights collecting dust in a corner.  I go to the gym if I feel like it and I have time (which is never) and I worry less about size and weight and more about eating healthy and splurging without guilt.

I used to . . .

Work in a high-stress job with people I disliked at a company I despised.  I put in long hours, came home late, stayed up late cleaning house and picking up after my toddler and my toddler-like ex-husband, then I’d turn around and do it all over again the next day.

Now I . . .

Work a lot of hours with people I like in an environment that I enjoy doing something I feel is meaningful and rewarding.  I come home late to find my kids have left a mess all over, but my husband has made dinner and is interested in what I have to say.

I used to . . .

Worry a lot about what other people thought about me, whether or not they took me seriously, and if I was making a good impression on them.

Now I . . .

Worry about what I think about me, whether or not I’m doing the best I can do, and if I’m still enjoying what I do.

I used to . . .

Own 9 cats, primarily because my ex couldn’t say no to bringing home just one more needy animal he found somewhere.

Now I . . .

Own two dogs (okay, technically my oldest daughter owns one of them), one cat, and a bearded dragon lizard.  I dig the lizard!  I’d get another in a heart beat.

I used to . . .

Believe “It’s good to have dreams, it’s better to have a paycheck.”

Now I . . .

Believe “It’s good to have a paycheck, it’s better to have dreams.”

I used to . . .

Shop at Nordstrom’s, Dillard’s, and other high-end stores with no worries about size or price tags.

Now I . . .

Shop at Target, Kohl’s, and even Wall-Mart so I can spend money on things that matter more than designer labels – like shoes for my kids, or books on my iPod.

I used to . . .

Read books to my daughter and think “I can do better than this.”

Now I . . .

Write books that my daughter reads and says, “Mom, this is good stuff.”

I used to . . .

Try to be friends with my ex’s new wife, and my husband’s ex-wife.

Now I . . .

Know why each man left each of those women.  `Nuff said.

I used to . . .

Go to church religiously (pun intended) every Sunday.  I even sang in the band at my church (yes, we have a band), taught Sunday school, served as the Jr. High youth adviser.

Now I . . .

Have a belief system that doesn’t conform to any organized religion, so I talk to God directly and listen for the answers, though most of the time they are not what I expect to hear.

I used to . . .

Believe I was moving to New York to be on Broadway, to be a performer and live in the Big Apple.

Now I . . .

Live in a beautiful house in the suburbs, raising my kids, teaching English, writing books, and being very glad I never moved to New York.

I used to . . .

Regret letting people leave my life.  I’d do almost anything to keep in touch with people I went to elementary school with.  My Christmas card list had over 200 people on it.

Now I . . .

Keep in touch with family and friends who are like family.  I sent a card at New Year’s to fewer than 30 people, and I regularly talk to those who are most important to me.  It’s a nice surprise when I hear from others, but unless they show they really want to keep in touch, I no longer make the Herculean efforts I used to.

I used to . . .

Get up every Saturday, spend half the day cleaning like a mad woman as if I expected some pop military inspection to show up. I’d even take down my curtains once a month and wash them.  I’d pull the stove and refrigerator out and clean underneath.  At one point, I would even unscrew the toilet seats from their bases and give them a soak in bleach and hot water in the tub.  Of course, then I’d scrub the tub out.

Now I . . .

Are you kidding?  There is clutter in abundance in my house.  We have two dogs, and I will not vacuum three times a day.  If the curtains get washed once a year, I call it good, and I figure there are four other people in that house, so they can each help with part of the cleaning.  Which they do, to the best of their abilities.  I love the old cliche’ saying: “A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.”  Amen!

I used to . . .

Sleep in until the very last possible second, then realize I was going to be late for work.  In  a panic, I’d dash around getting ready, then slide into my desk as the second hand ticked past 8:00.

Now I . . .

Nothing’s changed.  I still do this.  I hate mornings.  The only time I get up early is for significant events like going on vacation, or if we are in Yellowstone and we are driving up to the Lamar Valley to go look for wolves.  Otherwise, I still believe that morning should begin somewhere around 11:45.

I don’t really think I’m fundamentally a different person than I used to be, I think I’ve just learned to do things differently and my reasons for doing some of them have changed.  I’m definitely more cynical than I used to be, but I think my sense of humor has actually improved.  With a house full of teen-agers, I believe that’s a requirement.

Events have changed me; I’ve changed as a result of people I’ve known; I’ve changed because that’s what human beings do.  I’d really like to trade my mini van for a sports car, but that will take a while to achieve.  I don’t regret things, but there are some experiences I won’t repeat anytime soon.

The one thing I did find interesting as I thought about this is that, in all my adult life, I’ve never been happier than I am now.  Not giddy and silly happy – though there are moments of that – but peaceful, calm, comfortable happy.  I like it.  I think I’ll keep it.

Advertisements

One thought on “I Used To . . . But Now I

  1. BriteDay says:

    Yeah, me too! Well, sort of… only the details are different 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s