I’m just finished a book that has my brain SPINNING and I need to do some thinking about this. Join me!
The Book: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
The Idea: A woman (Alice) falls and hits her head at the gym. She’s whisked off to the hospital where she learns everything she remembers about her life was actually TEN YEARS AGO and a lot has changed.
Naturally, this has me thinking about how much has changed in my life over the last decade.
What would my 10-years-younger self be confused about if I were Alice?
First of all, 2011 was 10 Years Ago (WHOA)
In 2011 I was:
- Mother to a 5.5 year old and an almost 2 year old
- Working at an elementary school I LOVED
- Teaching a multi-age classroom of gifted kiddos
- Married to my high-school sweetheart
What would surprise my 10-years-younger self if I flashed her forward to today?
Well, for starters, I’m not teaching anymore.
My younger self would’ve jumped right over that year I had 46 kids in my classroom, where my burnout started. She missed that drama. She wouldn’t truly understand my choice to leave the school (and district) I loved ten years ago. She definitely would be confused about my decision to leave the profession. She’d probably think people were joking when they told her. Ten years ago me couldn’t imagine a situation where she EVER burned out. But, once you convinced her she did, she’d understand the choice. Even then I promised myself I would leave if I ever got to be like that.
The oldest is 15.5.
Yup, that’s insane to think about. I cannot truly imagine what it would be like to go to sleep with my tiny first grader and wake up with this learner’s permit driving high schooler. First of all, he’s taller than me now so past me would be SHOCKED. This kid doesn’t rely on us as much anymore: does his own laundry, handles his schoolwork, and did I mention DRIVES? Yeah, past me would need a minute for this.
Speaking of oldest, he plays travel hockey.
I think past me expected that. Heck, he was playing hockey ten years ago. But when that first travel hockey bill comes in, past me is gonna be SHOCKED. Yeah, it’s expensive. Buckle up, buttercup.
The youngest is almost 12.
Some days she reminds me so much of me that I think younger me would be pleasantly surprised. She’s like a sour patch kid: sometimes she’s the most helpful, loving kid on the planet. Sometimes she’s tearing apart things JUST BECAUSE. It’s a weird life I lead. Ten years ago she was this tiny little toddler who was just barely wearing pigtails. Today she does her own hair and pretends to make makeup tutorial videos. Past me would be in over her head, I think.
We’re crazy busy.
With oldest’s travel hockey and youngest’s gymnastics and yearbook, it often feels like we have something every day of the week. Sure, it’s been a little slower right now with COVID, but it’s not as slow as it was ten years ago.
This one would probably be the biggest shock for ten-years-ago me to wake up to. Of course, no one plans for this to affect their life. No one ever imagines they’ll have to deal with a cancer diagnosis in their family. This, and everything that has gone with it, would definitely need some explaining to my former self.
In her wildest dreams ten-years-ago me imagined this future. Sometimes, when the kids are testing quietly, she walks around her classroom with a clipboard taking notes about story ideas. It would shock her (maybe to happy tears) to see the Kingdom of Fraun series is 4-books strong and built on the premise she once scribbled on that clipboard. This is one of the big changes that would likely make past me really proud of what road we’re on.
10-years-ago me had two amazing matriarchs. There’d be a whole chapter of this book dedicated to the crippling pain from learning that’s been snatched away from her.
Ten years ago we had a beautiful mutt named Coyote who had a habit of pulling things off the wall. Now we have an American Bulldog-Boxer mix named Niko who has a habit of snoring when he naps (which he does regularly). I’m sure I’d love him, but it would be a slap in the face to have to come to terms with Coyote.
It’s the same house, technically, but with a lot of upgrades. New flooring, new furniture, new AC, rock in the backyard, and probably more I’ve forgotten about. Past me would be ECSTATIC that we got all this done.
Yup, the same guy. In fact, we’re happier and stronger than ever. You got your love story, past me. Be happy!
Overall, I think younger me would be pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished once she wrapped her head around it. Is it shocking different? Totally. But, at the end of the day, current me is healthier and happier than ever. She’s chasing that dream past me was afraid to admit to and that’s pretty cool. Plus, these kiddos are WAY COOLER than we imagined they would be!
What would be the biggest shock for ten-years-younger you?
Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!
As for that book, if you like contemporary stories that heavily focus on families and emotions … you’ll love What Alice Forgot. I gave it 4 stars and my full rating is over on Goodreads and Amazon.