Pandora’s box

I spent part of the weekend helping my sister clean out my mother’s basement, sorting out trash from treasure, blah, blah, blah. It was all boring and dusty work until I found a box with my name on it.

box

There, in its weather-proofed glory*, was my youth. My potential. My promise.

From high school to college, the words used to spill out of me. Creativity of thought tempered only by the time spent eating, sleeping, and pretending to be sociable.

Finding the box was yesterday. Finding myself was today.

Throughout the day, I allowed myself to thumb those pages, to periodically sneak away for time to immerse myself in the me of 20 years ago. She wasn’t such a silly girl, after all.

She read – texts, literary magazines, the New York Times. She wrote – essays, poetry, and literary criticism. She conversed – with strangers, thinkers and academics. She argued – about things that mattered, about ideas, about philosophies, about ways of being. She was brave. She was unfettered by complicated relationships.

I miss her. I miss the person that she wanted to be, the person she was shaping up to be, because I am not either of those persons. Until this weekend, I’m not sure that I knew what I was missing. Not that I’m necessarily swimming in regret. More like dipping my toes in wistful waters.

I’m already in the middle of preparing myself for the life-change of leaving my long term job. How does this re-discovery affect my already careening trajectory?

Will this desirous contemplation drive me?  Sustain me? Or drain me?

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*My older sister’s papers were less carefully stored, victimized by the years and lack of temperature control:

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