I am extremely lucky that my parents live pretty close to me and as a result, I get to see them pretty often. I try to never take that fact for granted. This weekend they brought me some old movies my mom had recently put on DVD (Costco literally does everything). Being the nostalgia junkie I am (yes folks, not just an inspiration junkie), I watched all of them in one sitting.
Watching home movies is always a nice walk down memory lane but it can also be very bittersweet. I was such an enthusiastic, open kid. I was dancing in my chair at Chuck E Cheese at the age of 3, not caring even a little bit if I looked weird. I said pretty much whatever came into my head (as all kids do however endearing or offensive that may be). I was almost loud. I think it’s true of almost all of us but it made me kind of sad that I’d lost that. That I had let life and my experiences harden me and turn me into a different person than I was then. I think my life might have turned out very different if I’d stayed the way I was.
That got me thinking about all the dreams I had as little Jackie. How I thought my life would turn out. I think I’ve talked about it before, but I really had only one dream growing up and that was to have a boyfriend/significant other, whatever you want to call him. I loved fairy tales and all of the boycentric TV shows there were at the time. Being a teen and having a boyfriend seemed like the most normal thing a girl with a self-perceived abnormality could have. So as I sat there and watched these scenes of child me (I was adorable by the way), I admittedly got a little sad. I don’t think any of our lives ever turn out the way we plan them to, especially not exactly. But I feel like I had a relatively simple goal and I have yet to really achieve it. The worst part is it’s mostly my fault. I was too insecure. I was too shy. These days, I’m too closed off and too afraid. I had so many missed opportunities because of my own flaws. Because I didn’t stay that open, outgoing kid I was. There’s nothing I can do about it now of course and I know there’s a reason my life is the way it is now. But I definitely felt that pang of sadness not just for me, but for every child who grew up with a dream or goals for the life and for whatever reason, wasn’t able to achieve them.
The last thing I noticed on these home movies was how well I got around physically. When I was 3, I was still scooting around on my butt and not really walking all the time but by 4, I was walking. I had my limp but it was almost just more of a wobble. I got up and down off the floor like it was almost nothing and I sat on the floor a lot in general. I could even squat. I didn’t think I’d really deteriorated that much in terms of physical strength but watching that, I realized that I have actually gotten weaker and less able to do certain things. A lot of that I think is just more weight to carry around and to have to lift up with my not-so-strong arms but it was disappointing to see for sure.
It’s an interesting topic. Is there something we can do to prevent the hardships and disappointments of life from turning us into someone else? Is there a way we can stay that open, loving, even naive kid? Would we want to? Would I want to? I think I would. I definitely wish I could still get around as easily as I could back then. And I hope that little girl is still living in me somewhere, she’s just been hiding all of these years. Time to go in there and find her!