About a week ago, driving in my convertible on the 405, on my way to have dinner with my boyfriend, I thought about the me that existed 20 years ago. And I’ve been thinking about her a lot ever since.
Twenty years ago, a shy and intensely unhappy fourteen year old girl was just starting eighth grade. She felt trapped and suffocated in her tiny little hometown. She dreamed of seeing the world, but had no idea how it would ever happen. She’d been poor her entire life, and family vacations were to places only a an hour or two away. Los Angeles seemed like an almost imaginary place – so big and glamorous and impossibly far away. She hoped that maybe she’d get to visit someday.
It’s so easy, isn’t it, to take everything you have for granted? For the past week, I’ve been viewing everything I’ve done through her eyes. Living in Los Angeles, surrounded by palm trees and weather so incredible it makes you forget that it actually rains other places. Working crazy hours building a big web site project for a big company while servicing a full roster of freelance clients on the side, barely finding the time to get it all done. Being insanely in love, talking to the boyfriend at least twice a day. Standing up for web standards, insisting it’s important. Checking in on Facebook on my iPhone. Meeting girlfriends for a late dinner and cocktails on a school night. Eeking out time to read some blog posts about Google Chrome and IE8 beta 2. Trying to get my boss to send me to a web conference in Tokyo. Sneaking my Eee PC into meetings. Fitting in a three-mile run each morning while listening to podcasts on my iPod.
That little fourteen year old girl would have been beside herself if only she had known. I wish I could go back to her and hug her and let her know it was all going to be alright. That one day she’d have this crazy, fabulous, busy, glamorous, successful life in the City of Angels.
Though I doubt she would have believed me.