I recently finished reading What Alice Forgot - a novel by Liane Moriarty with an interesting premise. A woman hits her head, and when she wakes up, she's lost the last 10 years of her memory. She believes she is pregnant with her first child and happily married working on house renovations. When she wakes up, she is dropped into her extremely active life as the mother of three children going through a divorce, and she is shocked at where her life has ended up. I really enjoyed the book. (there is some language, so if that bothers you, then you should skip it.)
I've thought a lot over the past week about what Young Carol would have to say to Current Carol. I think it is pretty easy to do this in reverse. I could easily, as Current Carol, sit down with Young Carol and share buckets of wisdom. I've learned and grown a lot in the past 10 years, and I'm so thankful. But what have I forgotten? What have I lost track of?
So, I decided to try to put myself back there. This is me in the summer of 2005.
Do I look carefree? I mostly was. I had been married for a few months. I had been working at CFA for two years, which was a shock to me, since I had only planned on being there for 1 year. (hahahahaha, 12 years later) John and I were both in the middle of grad school and were thinking of trying to move abroad and teach English after we graduated. It was an altogether different time.
Here's a letter from Young Carol after she bumped into Current Carol and saw a bit of her future life. I know that is some trippy time travel - hope we can all track on this.
Dear Current Carol,
First off, let me just say wow. W.O.W. How do we have four children that are so little? That seems a little crazy - even for you. You adopted? When and how did that happen? That is shocking. Like, my mind is blown. I have so many questions about your choices on children acquisition, because I cannot even imagine it. I guess God must have done some major heart work. Good job listening. How's that working out for you? It sounds like a lot of hard work. Are you up for that?
I'm so glad to see you and John going out for dates every week. I can tell that you need them. You guys seem to have aged a lot in the past couple of years. Do you think it might be from having four kids in about four years? Just a guess. Like I mentioned - that's a lot of hard work. It's nice to see you guys still able to laugh about things together. But - why don't you play more games? You seem to be awfully busy.
I cannot believe that you are still in CFA. This is another turn of events that I couldn't consider or imagine. It sounds like a lot of hard work. But - I'm glad to see that it is good. It really is more than I could dream it to be, and I can see that God is working in and through you and John in this career choice. Speaking of "careers" - you sometimes sell cookies? That is amazing - I've always loved pretty food! Thanks for making time to learn that skill. I just don't understand when you do these cookies with all of those children.
Okay, Current Carol, I've been watching you for a while, and it seems to me that you don't often slow down. Is there some sort of emergency that has you running like a wild woman? Why do you feel like you always need to be doing at least two things simultaneously? When did napping become something only for your children? Why can't you just watch a show on TV without also looking at your computer?
Speaking of your computer and the mini-computer that you carry around, it seems like you are pretty attached to those. Why do you keep looking at your phone? What magic does it hold over you? Sometimes, it might be good for you to just be. To just sit and be. God certainly commands it, and you seem to have lost track of it. You are constantly going and seeking input. It's a little intense. What happened to slow me? She loved to "do nothing." I know motherhood has probably changed us a lot, and it is hard to fathom, but you could use a hefty dose of slowing down. What are you trying to prove to the world?
Overall, I'm so proud of you and happy with our life. I can see that you are really trying to do what the Lord has for you, even though you often get it wrong. That's really the best we can hope for. And, though I couldn't have imagined the life we have, it is pretty amazing. It is a ton of work, but it is totally worth it. Press on.
Much love, XOXO - Young Carol
This was a fun little exercise - if any of you want to share what you think your younger selves would say to your current selves, I'd love to hear it!