I’m starting to get the feeling that when people talk about putting their lives “in perspective,” we all mean something different. I tend to try to figure out how my childhood self would feel about my current life. I think she would be pretty pleased.
Stuff that would impress younger me:
-I teach martial arts for a living.
-I work in an office, and have my own desk.
-I dress like an adult (and occasionally quite stylishly).
-I have a handsome boyfriend who treats me like a princess.
-I have a variety of friendships.
-I live with cool roommates.
-I give good advice.
-I am loyal.
-I still dress up for Halloween.
I was struck recently while spending time with a friend at her job that my younger self would think I am just super cool for doing that. Little Iron Friend works at a rock climbing gym, and part of her job is to set up climbing paths on the walls. I went over to keep her company, pick out bolts that fit each piece, and climb the paths to make sure they made sense while listening to an N’Sync inspired Pandora station (every time the next song came on, one or both of us would go “Oh my god, this song! Hahaha!”). I left the gym around 1am, feeling like the kind of adult my childhood self would look up to with big, shining eyes and think, “Wow. She’s so cool. I wanna grow up to be like that.”
While we were hanging out at the gym, Little Iron Friend randomly asked me, “How does someone who tends to get into abusive relationships break that cycle?” It’s something I’ve given a good amount of thought to, so I said something like, “People tend to seek out what’s familiar, even if it hurts them. People find comfort in the predictable, even if what they can accurately predict is abuse. Breaking that pattern takes determination, focus, confidence, and a lot of support from people you trust to have your best interests at heart, even when you don’t.” I suggested a safeword between friends to let the other know that a significant other/boss, etc. has crossed the line into abusive territory. Little Iron Friend said, “I’d be comfortable having a safeword with you.” I said, “That sounds a little sexy, but I’m honored. Likewise.” She doesn’t seem particularly happy at either job, so she said that in a year, if she’s still complaining about her jobs, that I should use our safeword: Kung Fu Ninja.
Kate Beaton did a whole bunch of comics about encountering her younger self and the opinion said self would have of her as an adult. I could take my younger self to the dojo, to rock climbing, to the beach, I could show her the cape I’m making myself, watch Home Movies and Star Trek: The Next Generation with her, eat Japanese food and coffee ice cream, hang out on the balcony of my apartment, play board games… Yeah. I think she would be pretty pleased with the way she’s turned out so far.