20 days. That’s how long I was away. Over the course of that 20 days I discovered and re-discovered many things about myself. I wasn’t gone for this purpose however. Instead, I was away due to the passing of someone very special to me.
Oddly enough, among the grief, heartache and tension of that situation, I was given the opportunity to find myself. Some discoveries were wonderful and I will take them with me always. Then, there were others that were very discouraging. These discoveries came as I began to compare who I am with the person people believe me to be. There is a difference. For me, this became even more obvious over those 20 days.
I remember the young girl I once was – free, ambitious, fun, adventurous. These are just a few of the traits that defined me. Where are these traits now? I thought that I had lost them years ago, but in fact they’ve been with me all along. It’s simply that they had been stuffed away by the various paths that have brought me to where I am today. It’s discouraging how choices in your life can turn your life into the complete opposite of what it once was, of what you’ve always wanted it to be.
For instance, I am not a city girl – never was and never will be. Even so, I reside in a metropolitan area of approximately 2,600,000 people. That is at the very least, about 2,599,000 people too many. However, there are a handful of things I enjoy about the city. Overlooking the city lights from a mountain peak, access to a variety of museums and well, that’s about it. Okay, that’s not quite a handful, but it’s something at least.
Although I do my best to fit in, anyone who really knows me or is willing to listen will quickly tell you that I am a country girl all the way. I remind myself of the quote that says “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” In no way, shape or form does my ‘cover’ accurately represent the person I am.
I would give anything to live in the country again. To wake up in the early morning and go for a horse ride without impeding traffic, vehicular or pedestrian. To walk outside and smell the fresh air, instead of feeling as though I’ve just stepped into an auto shop. To wave to strangers as they pass by and have them wave back, without getting the ‘finger’ instead. To go to bed at night while listening to the chirping of crickets, rather than the constant sound of sirens.
Under my ‘cover’ is a girl who dreams of returning to the person she once was. I long to go camping again in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where I can enjoy the peace and quiet that is hidden behind the trees and rolling hillsides. On a summer night, I would love to cuddle under a blanket once again and star gaze for hours with a friend. For a Saturday adventure, I would like to jump in the car and go wherever the road leads me, as I used to often do. As an adult, I realize that I should be able to do these things at any given moment. However, life choices have a rude way of making these simple activities into ones that are almost entirely unattainable.
Be that as it may, for 20 days I had the opportunity to be ‘me’. Granted, I may not have gotten a chance to do the activities mentioned above, but I was given the chance to discover that the girl I once was, still exists. All the traits and qualities that make me the person I am are still very much alive and for me that is a great relief.
For this reason, I came back a different person. I returned as myself. The real me or at least a closer version. It is the ‘me’ that has been secluded from the world for so long. The me that I so dearly missed.
I will end with this quote by Raymond Hull:
“He who trims himself to suit everyone, will soon whittle himself away.” ~Raymond Hull