For any WordPress bloggers out there, do you ever pay attention to the writing prompts that once appeared each time you write a new post? I never paid much attention to them as my struggle with blogging isn’t usually what to write about, but instead finding the time to write about anything! But last summer (see what I mean about finding time?) I saw a suggestion for a post that grabbed me and made me think, and I have had that title drafted since last August.
The title? “If you could relive one day of your life, what day would that be?” There are many days that came to mind: the day I married my husband, the day I raised my hands in complete surrender to Christ, the day that we birthed each of our children, the last conversation I had with my mom or my dad—the list goes on endlessly. But if I had to pick one day, I would have to pick the day that I graduated from high school.
When I read that prompt, I thought so much about high school; if there was ever a time in my life when I was almost constantly on cloud nine, it had to be high school. I wasn’t an athlete, though I did suffer through (I should say my teammates suffered through) one year of softball. I wasn’t a cheerleader; it was too expensive, and I wasn’t a gymnast, or even particularly limber. I was a brainiac, and proud of it. I loved that my name was one of the first to come up any time there was a conversation about the “best of’s…” I enjoyed all the privileges that came with being teacher’s pet, and considered the best and the brightest. Don’t get me wrong; my life had its hardships, but I truly consider these my “golden years,” given that I haven’t hit 50 just yet.
My mind travels through a number of teachers, and I wonder who is still alive. Inevitably, I ponder my friendships, most of which, if at all existent, have dwindled down to a series of back-and-forth exchanges on Facebook that succinctly wrap up my life for the last ~30 years since graduation. As an aside, because like most of us, I don’t see myself as others see me, I look at current pictures of the most popular, the most beautiful, the most likely to succeed, etc., and I marvel at the gray hair, the expanded waistlines, etc.—as if I’m still the firecracker that I was all those years ago. HA HA!!
As I continue to allow my mind to drift over these most precious of days, I can’t help but think about my dreams. With my limited exposure to corporate America and the nature of business, I embraced the same “I’m every woman” type of expectations that many of us do at that age—queen of my industry and a modern-day princess, looking like a supermodel and managing my house, my husband and many children with flawless execution. I’ve shared that Claire Huxtable dream turned nightmare before.
Anyway, it amazes me how much of my dreams centered upon external appearances. At 17, I wouldn’t have known better, but I marvel at how much of what I wanted for myself was a function of what I wanted others to think of me. And as life dealt me some cruel realities that deviated from my fantasy, I probably spent some time, though I’m not cognizant of it, in some level of depression about the things that didn’t happen. I sure hope I didn’t subconsciously take out any frustrations on those closest to me.
The thing is, when I look at what I wanted then, and where I am now, I realize how fantastic my life truly is. No, I don’t have some of the trappings that I thought so critical to being a success at that tender season in my life. AND, I’ll add that the few “trappings” that I do have, like this ample space for the five of us to live, I don’t value anywhere near as much as I once did. I realize that when we bought this home, I (I won’t speak for my husband) had fallen into a trap of believing that the bigger your home is, the better your life should be. Honestly, I’m looking forward to the season of our five becoming three and moving into something more cozy.
I never dreamed of being a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. I never dreamed of owning a business. I never dreamed of educating my own children. I never thought I’d teach adults. I never dreamed of using my gifts to uplift the body of Christ as I’ve been allowed to over these years. Most importantly, I never dreamed of how pleasurable some of life’s sweetest joys can be, like waking up in my husband’s arms after he’s been away for a few days, or having him as my very best friend, or receiving hugs from the kids first thing in the morning, or watching my eight-year-old sleep recharge.
So, if I could relive one day, it might be the day that I graduated from high school. But, I’d want to take these memories with me so that I could really be excited about my future—not the shallow, materialistic fantasy crafted for me while watching too much TV during those teenage years, but what real life has created. In this latter vision are my biggest accomplishments and my life’s greatest joys.
How about you? What one day would you relive?