Monday, June 2, 2008

Recycle This

I guess this is what it is to grow old. I have been nostalgic lately, thinking about the many different me's I've been over the years. Me's long ago abandoned, the way we do with everything these days.

The me who aspired to be a Dr. Doolittle, in the hopes that animals would have more to tell me than the adults in my life. The me who hitchhiked across Massachusetts to a macrobiotic commune, where I ate oatmeal with raspberries and took a walk after dark in an old cemetery where there were more fireflies than I've ever seen, before or since. The me who skinny dipped alone in a West Virginia lake, and then took a train to a folk festival where I saw the sloop Clearwater and heard (according to Pete Seeger) Don McLeon's first performance of "Bye Bye Miss American Pie." The me who first saw the ocean when I was 20 and completely submitted to something I never wanted to leave. And the me who left anyway. The barefoot me in an army surplus jacket who looked like a wraith and played the dulcimer.

The me who settled for less than I wanted out of the fear that my first choice would never come, and (wrongly) thought that second best would be better than nothing. Who was, in fact, afraid of a million things, failure, embarrassment, hurting other people's feelings, not being pretty enough, not being thin enough, not wearing the right clothes . . . good lord, what a petty bunch of me's that was! The me whose second child was born at home, before the midwife got there.

The me who went to law school even though I had never met a lawyer, and even though I would rather have been able to stay home with my children. And also even though, as it turned out, I don't much like law. The me who somehow, over time, morphed into someone who has become sensible, or maybe just lost her nerve.

I've been wondering lately where some of those other Me's went, and how I ended up with this one. Nothing is never lost, or so they say. One of these days, then, I must check the Cosmic Recycling Bin, to look for the parts of me that are still good, still usable, and recycle them into the latest version.


Snowbird said...

Wow, Gail, I have so many me's who are like your me's. And, incidentaly like my daughter's me's. I think we all relate to the hippy me. I sometimes wonder where my me's went too. Do you suppose there is a place out there somewhere waiting for us to show up and re-connect with ourselves.

gpc said...

That must be why I like your and Karen's blogs so much -- it is fun that you think we are the same kinds of hippies at heart. The difference, it seems to me, is that the two of you stayed in touch with your creative, free spirited sides. I think I wrapped mine up in tissue paper and tucked it into the bottom drawer until I started reading about your life, and thinking about the exciting possibilities that are still out there! (no more skinny dipping though -- it would not make such a pretty mental picture these days!)