I remember climbing trees and skinning knees. Late ’80s/early ’90s neon, paint-splattered glory. Madonna and Bon Jovi and Paula Abdul. Slap bracelets and acid washed jeans. Trapper Keepers full of wide-ruled notebook paper. Lisa Frank stickers and pencils and folders. Barbie dolls and Matchbox cars. Picnics in the park. My first bike. Tumbling face-first after barreling downhill on my first bike. Getting back on my first bike. Mom reading to me. Dad writing me notes. Wishing I were a character in the Babysitter’s Club books. Or Nancy Drew.
I remember Blockbuster on Friday nights, renting movies to last the whole weekend long. Surge and Pringles. Shirts from American Eagle. Calvin Klein short shorts. Instant messaging. AOL, chat rooms and screen names. Falling hard for the bad boy with the bad attitude. Concerts. So many concerts. Rocking out to “alternative” radio because I couldn’t get enough Matchbox 20, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, Oasis, Tonic and Better Than Ezra. Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being myself. Rides in cars with boys. Getting home too late. Wishing I could just grow up.
I remember lugging my gigantic, unwieldy gray eMachine computer up five flights of stairs in my freshman dorm. Chatting online with friends down the hall and putting up away messages, informing everyone what cool things we were doing. Staying out late just because we could. Skipping class when the sun beckoned us way from lectures. Frequenting the quickie Japanese restaurant, because if you just ordered the rice plate, you only had to fork over about three bucks.
I remember the night I celebrated my 26th birthday and met the man I would marry. Friendships shape shifting like shadow puppets, some getting bigger and brighter, others fading away. Moving and then moving again. Choosing a life course and feeling scared out of my mind. Reading books, so many books. Taking pictures. Experimenting in the kitchen. Realizing my mother is the best chef I’ve ever known and wishing I’d known it as a kid. Deciding I still need to go to concerts. Realizing I’ve gotten too old for some things but not others. Shouldering responsibilities and making tough decisions. Bills. Body aches that didn’t used to be there. Automobiles breaking down. Sanity breaking down. Realizing I’ve still got a long way to go.