How I wish I’d been braver in my early twenties. I would have loved to live in Manhattan, darting in and out of subway stations, perching on the steps of an old brownstone balancing my laptop and dreaming about tomorrow. A mid-90s Carrie Bradshaw.
Each time I return to New York, I am filled with an overwhelming desire to go back twenty years. I want to take my younger self by the shoulders, look her in the eye and tell her it’s okay to dream, it’s okay to go after what you want in life, even if it seems impossible, even if you don’t think you’ve got what it takes. Now is the time to try! Be brave! There’s so much out there! But, knowing myself as long as I have (almost 38 years now), I know that I’d have looked my current self in the eye and said “yeah, okay, whatever,” shrugged her off, rolled my eyes and kept walking.
Now when I walk down 5th Avenue, up 42nd street, across Times Square I think about how far I’ve come and I realize that while I have gained the intelligence and self-confidence to do it, no way in hell would I move to a city where my current mortgage payment would get me about 450 square feet of space. Where I’d have to take two subway rides and a train to and from work every day…
Those Big Apple dreams I have for my younger self aren’t going to come true for her. She was afraid to step outside her comfort zone. She wasn’t sure that she had what it takes to make something of herself and she was afraid to try. Maybe, at 18, that girl had no desire to see the world. Not like I do now. And while it took some time, she did find herself. ..right here in West St. Louis County. She’s still got big dreams – to wander through Paris, to write a novel, to afford a little luxury in her life.
I wonder if, twenty years from now, I’ll look back on this time in my life and wish for something more. Something different. I hope not. I hope this path I’m on is exactly where I’m supposed to be.