It occurred to me yesterday (and also a bit this morning) that the first week in August is a significant one for me. I could hardly believe it when I realized that ten years ago this week (really, last weekend) I moved into my first apartment in Rochester. Ten years ago this coming Sunday, I started my job with the Amerks. That is scary. I realized it as I was driving by the street that I used to turn on to get to my first apartment. I couldn't believe that it was 10 years ago that I was struggling through my first week there, with no cable, no phone, and no internet, trying to get settled while panicking about starting my first real job. That apartment was such a cute one--a large studio with my bed in one corner and the rest of the main room serving as a huge living room. I had a cute seafoam green bathroom and a big kitchen. By the time I moved out it also had a minor bug infestation, but alas...it was a cute place to spend my first year on my own. Even though I completely despised my job back then, I have fond memories of that time, mostly because I had this pleasant,simple, solitary existence. I went to work, worked out, came home to dinner I chose myself (oh, the days of cooking for one!), watched some TV, surfed the internet, and went to bed. It sounds boring, but I really did enjoy that time and my pleasant little routine. I'm sure it would have gotten old after a while, but for the time it lasted it was nice. Everything was so new and there was even an odd novelty associated with washing my own dishes and cooking my own dinners, things that are just short of drudgery now, at least some days.
The first week in August also marks nine years that Craig and I have been together. How time flies! Now we've been married for over seven years and have a two-year-old child to show for it as well. Nine or ten years is a long time...perhaps not in the grand scheme of things, but it's nearly a third of my life so at this point it's a pretty big chunk of time. I always marvel at how time goes so fast as we get older. Ten years when I was a kid was an eternity. The last ten years went by so quickly. For example, ten years ago I was fresh out of college. Ten years before that, I was going into seventh grade. I can tell you that the time it took to get from seventh grade to post-college seemed to take a heck of a lot longer than from post-college to now. All I can figure is that the earlier period involved so many internal changes (as well as external, but I think the internal ones are the key here) that the person that entered that period and the person that exited it were completely different people. Despite marriage, parenthood, and 10 years in the working world, I'm probably not that different of a person than I was when I got out of college. Things have changed externally, of course, but other than being a little more worn down by life, internally I don't think I'm too different. As a result, I relate better to my 21-year-old self now than my 21-year-old self did to my 11-year-old self ten years ago. My 21-year-old self may beg to differ, but that's how I see it from here. This is getting deep and twisted, eh?
I will admit that my current self has jealous moments when looking back at me 10 years ago. I know life wasn't all cherries and roses back then either, but I did have a lot of freedom to go where I pleased and do what I wanted when I wanted. But things definitely weren't all that exciting, and stress about work, my love live (or lack thereof), and my crappy salary couldn't have made life too fun sometimes. But the thought of all that time where I had no one to worry about but myself seems almost mythical now. I can't even imagine what I'd do with myself if given that opportunity these days. I'm sure I could fill up my list fast, but the mere thought of it is downright indulgent. Marriage and parenthood aren't easy, but they also fill up your life in so many ways--literally and figuratively. My schedule is fuller and my stress level is higher, but so is the quality of my life and the love I experience on a daily basis. It's not the easiest trade-off sometimes, but in the long run it's worth it.
It's amazing the difference that 10 years can make, no matter the phase of life you're in. Heck, 10 years from now, Jacob will be that same kid heading into seventh grade that I was 20 years ago. How crazy is that?!