I had a doctor’s appointment in my little, unassuming, quiet hometown of Madisonville, Kentucky a few days ago. Even though I consider the somewhat larger and noisier town of Owensboro to be home now, part of me will always think of Madisonville as “home.” I was born in Madisonville, as were my two youngest daughters. I spent the first 20-something years of my life in a town that was the only world I knew.
What is it about visiting your hometown that starts the trips down memory lane and the reminiscing?
Each time I go back, I’m hit by a mixture of emotions. Needless to say, I still miss my mom and dad – they moved on to Heaven years ago. Seeing the places we used to go conjures up bittersweet memories – sweet because the days that were, bitter because of the days that’ll never be again.
I also can’t help feeling nostalgic about the places we went when our girls were little. Every time I drive by McDonald’s, for example, I wonder just how many times I sat on the playground as three precious little girls had the times of their lives. I remember being on the bench, in my mid-twenties, watching my beautiful daughters, and thinking, “Life doesn’t get any more perfect than this.”
I always loved it when people asked which kids were mine, so I could point them out – smiling ear to ear. Okay, so some things never change.
On the most recent trip, I couldn’t help thinking that my teen years seem a lifetime ago. Teenager Joi was a hoot and I kind of like reconnecting with her from time to time. I like to think back to my thoughts and dreams, and even wonder what SHE would have thought about ME. I never fail to look back fondly at her and I get inspired and motivated to live in such a way today that would cause HER to feel the same. Sometimes I wonder what she would have thought about 2010. If you’d sat that 16 year old girl down… and asked her to please spit out her grape Bubble Yum bubble gum and turn down the music ( John Cougar, Pat Benetar, Prince, Madonna, or The Rolling Stones) long enough to talk… she’d have hung onto your every word as you told her about 2010.
She’d have listened to every word you said and would have politely spit out her favorite gum – after all her mom raised her to be very polite and courteous. No, wait, let me change that. She would have swallowed the 2 pound wad of gum – a nasty habit we share. She’d have also turned down her music, EVEN if it were Miss Benetar asking to be hit with your best shot.
I still love that song.
A lot of people say, “If you’d told me THEN what would be going on NOW, I wouldn’t have believed you.” Well, in my case it’s quite different. I am, and have always been, very trusting – bordering on gullible and naive. So I would have believed every word you said – from Facebook and computers to texting and iPhones. Most would have gone over my head, but I wouldn’t have doubted you for a minute.
The things I would have had the most trouble with are the people today. At the risk of sounding very old fashioned and outdated, I just have to say it. I would have been mortified by the description of a lot of young “ladies.” One thing in particular. When I was a young girl, my friends and I would have been MORTIFIED if a guy had talked to us in the way that boys talk to girls on Facebook. Yet, these girls not only DON’T MIND, they do everything in their power to bring the crude comments on.
I don’t understand that. Goes right over my head. Why would anyone seek out crude comments by posting tacky pictures? How can anyone be that desperate for attention?
I wouldn’t have had much respect for the guys doing the talking either. In my day, they’d have been called “gross.”
I’d have also popped a vessel over the way some kids talk to their parents today… and vice-versa. To say nothing of couples. It’s rare that you can go out in public without hearing someone biting someone else’s head off. I guess my 16 year old self would have to ask, “Why’s everyone, like, so mad?”
Why indeed? If you want a real wake-up call, take your own trip down memory lane. Try to get in touch with your teen-aged self, so to speak. Totally immerse yourself in how you FELT back then – think about your clothes, thoughts, dreams, ambitions, music, and so on. It’s a wonderful exercise in self-reflection and can open up a whole new appreciation for where you are – and WHO you are today.
The memories will come flooding back and it’s the experience of a lifetime.
When you bring your mind back to the present day, you’ll notice things you might be taking for granted. Like me, you’ll notice some things that leave you baffled (seriously baffled) but you’ll also notice things that are pretty remarkable. For example, most of us remember when the word Cancer was a death sentence. As soon as someone said, “So and So has cancer,” you immediately wondered if they had a week or a month to live. Today, your first thought is, “I wonder how they’ll treat it.”
Progress can be – and should be – a beautiful thing.
When teen-age Joi pulled herself together after seeing the “gross” stuff on Facebook, she would have teared up with joy when she saw her life now. It is the Fairytale life a young girl dreams of – this one certainly did: Happily married with a beautiful, happy, healthy family (humans and cats). When you told her about that, she wouldn’t have asked about the size of the house or the year of the car. She’d have wanted to know how many kids she had and how many cats there were.
Mostly she’d want to know if her husband was the “cute, cute, cute blue-eyed boy from the arcade in town – the one with the big shoulders and sweet smile that always made her laugh.” When you told her that he was, in fact, that boy, you’d have lost her for the rest of the conversation. She’d have just swooned right away on a cloud of happiness.