I feel like there’s something obligatory when you run a blog, that you have to at least post on your birthday. Even though it’s been months at this point, I couldn’t let this momentous occasion pass without acknowledging it. As I reach this quarter century milestone, I wanted to look back at the person I’ve been and the person I’m becoming;
I call it the 25 versions of me over 25 years.
First off though, I actually want to make sure to express my gratitude to G-d for getting me to this point in my life. It was touch and go, there were questionable times, but He pulled me through and got me to where I am today. While there are still some hurdles to jump (on and then) over, I am surviving and trying to make that surviving into thriving. Secondly, it would be completely remiss of me to not thank my parents, family, and friends for helping me through every little bit of this. There’s been tears, hospital visits, doctors, laughs, sarcasm and bad jokes, and so much more. I am completely blessed by everyone that is in my support system and I wouldn’t be here without them.
Now to the true point of the story; The 25 different people I’ve been in my 25 short… yet long, years. They say that we’re always changing, always evolving into new or better version of ourselves. I say I’m just a jack of all trades, master of none.
When I was really little, I wanted to be a princess. I wanted the entire fairytale. Somewhere along the line I became a became a doll collector, managing to get beautiful dolls from all over the world. My unique collection still resides safely tucked away in my basement. Each story still there, wanting to be told. While that faded off a when I got into my teens, there were many other things along the way…
A gymnast; I wanted to be the next Shawn Johnson. From back handsprings, to the uneven bars, and flipping into a foam pit I thought I would end up on the US women’s team in 2000something or other and win gold. I actually had the perfect form for it, all aside from being able to do proper splits. Well, it was dream that passed, but some of the flexibility stayed. Maybe some things are better in thought than in reality. Youth was a beautiful thing.
A dancer; tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, you name it I did it. I loved it and was 100% little miss spotlight. It felt like I was flying every time I stepped on the stage and started to move. I learned more than moves and how to keep time– dance taught me discipline and determination and it gave me that same powerful connection with my body that gymnastics gave me. That came to a sad end when I developed lymphedema and an array of other health issues, but what it taught me still remains to this day.
A cellist; Whoever thought that giving a tiny 4’9″, 12 year old girl a cello was a good idea… was absolutely right. All thru middle school I played and grew in my skill, I was the only girl in the cello section and I felt so cool. It transported me into another world, and I still wonder how/why I ever stopped. Maybe it’s true what they say… all good things must come to an end.
A competitive western horseback rider; From the bottom up I learned how to take care of horses and it was an automatic love. I had a special bond with a beautiful white mare quarter horse named Alabaster (very fitting). I learned how to groom her, tack her, ride her, and compete on her. We thrived in horsemanship and western pleasure competitions, and if it were up to me I would have ridden off into the sunset. While my competitive days came to an end, my pleasure riding days haven’t. I don’t hit the trails as much as I’d like to, but I still am a cowgirl and child of the wild west.
A stellar hockey player; My dad’s words, not mine. I played for an all girl’s team called Colorado Select– and I took to the ice like a natural. I may have been a little too aggressive in my approach and ended up in the penalty box way too many times, but I also was successful in scoring goals and being a good team member. It taught me perseverance more than anything had before. When I got lymphedema and my foot could no longer fit in my skates, I hung them up. It was a sad day, but one that was bound to happen at some point.
An artist; From sketching and painting to throwing pottery, I loved every medium of art. It was my absolute favorite class in school, and there was no better moment than coming home with your piece of art and having your parents dote over it. It was truly the first thing that got the creative side of my brain going. So, now we have tons of art I made around the house or stored away somewhere. There are times I want to go back to these mediums of art, but I think I’ll stick with writing and knitting for now.
A swimmer; I was a fish from day one. I would spend so much time in the water, that rain couldn’t pull me out of there (sorry parent who had to sit under the umbrella and watch me). I passed swim lessons quickly and then went on to the JCC’s swim team. I couldn’t do a good dive for anything, but my sidestroke was on point, as was my backstroke. I miss those days, but swimming in a shvimkeid isn’t so easy, so now I just chill in the water and soak up the sun.
An actress; Oh. My. G-d. I love the theater. To this day there is still a part of me that wants to end up on a Broadway stage singing my heart out. I spent years doing different musicals at the JCC and school productions, nothing made me happier than caked on stage makeup and the bright hot lights of the stage. This was where growing up and aging out of things is a disappointment, but it happened. I moved on to bigger and better things, like moving to New York, though I never did make it to the stages of Broadway.
An esthetician; This goal was actually achieved in July of 2014! I’d always liked makeup, skin care, and a good excuse to get out of school early. So during my senior year, half of my days were spent going to another school to get the skills and knowledge to be an esthetician. While I lost half an eyebrow to the cause (fun fact, you practice on each other first), I gained a license to make people feel beautiful and wonderful about themselves. It also made me the shoe-in for doing people’s makeup in sem. The eyebrow grew back, and my skills continue to grow.
A journalist/writer; I started attending college to get my bachelors in Journalism with a minor in political science. While the college plan didn’t pan out as I’d thought it would, I did gain valuable insight that allowed me to fine tune my blog and get it to thrive, when I actually write, and get a book in the works. So, I’ll file this one under, “mentsh tracht und G-t lacht” man plans and G-d laughs. Who knew, a college dropout [due to her health], turned top selling author (one day, G-d willing).
A Chassidic Jew; Yup, never saw that one coming, but it may be my greatest and longest standing achievement [life path…goal?] to date. Who would have thought that a tragedy could create something so essential for the rest of my life? While I truly wish the school shooting would have never occurred, I am happy to be the woman I am today, living a frum (pious) lifestyle that keeps me deeply connected to G-d, as well as the Chabad Lubavitch chassidic movement, particularly the Rebbe. I live everyday with the intention of serving Hashem to my fullest ability, and I use the teachings of the Rebbe and the Rebbeim before him to help inspire me and add even more meaning. That would be the biggest thing about this one; It gave me a way to live life meaningfully. I am blessed and grateful for this path I chose.
Lastly, the most important person I’ve been, is me. I’m sure if I wanted to I could think of more things I’ve quit and completed, but I think this gives you all a pretty good look at who I am. I’m an adventurous old soul who loves the simple things in life, even if sometimes they aren’t all that simple. I like good coffee, good country music, good people, good food, and good times. I’m not too hard to figure out, even if I have been a multitude of different people in my life. That’s what living is about; taking a piece of every person you’ve been and becoming the whole person that is you.
So, as I ride off into the dawning of my 25th year, I’ll take a moment to thank G-d, again, for getting me here; without Him, none of this would be possible. Without all of you, none of this would be possible. Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.
It’s only the beginning.