But when I'm not looking too close, I still feel like that lanky armed teenager inside- the one who was suddenly too tall to be a gymnast but kept gymnastic-ing anyways. The one who wore bright orange t-shirts and danced like a chimpanzee on a bed of hot coals whenever music of any sort was within earshot. The sarcastic cheerleader who was well aware of how pointless her repetitive chanting really was but chanted her face off just the same.
I still feel like that person- struggling to know who the heck I am and why I'm here at all... Feeling my way through life like a game of Pin-the-Tail-On-The-Donkey gone wrong, where the donkey is on the wall but the wall is 15 miles from where I'm standing and there's a few bogs and forests between us but DON"T YOU DARE TAKE OFF THAT BLINDFOLD LITTLE MISSY because that's cheating and cheaters never prosper!
That's why it's so jarring when I occasionally step back and look at myself with those outsider's eyes.
Home Payer-Off-er. (with rose bushes! and a grown-up refridgerator!)
And every time I get a cup of ice water from the door of my grown-up fridge I find myself wondering how I got so far along the path of life already to where I have the option of crushed or cubed at my fingertips and am suddenly responsible for the life or death of some random rose bush I adopted when I signed the mortgage papers when I can't even keep a potted CACTUS from shriveling up and dying of thirst...
Wait!... Wait! I still don't know what I want to be when I grow-up! But, suddenly I'm here. I'm the grown-up... And there's a part of me that wants to pull the emergency brake on it all and catch my breath... because I'm feeling like I need to pay more attention and really appreciate things because now I see that it goes by so quick and then it's PAST. I need to start laughing more and writing more things down and savoring every lesson, every pain, every triumph! I've got to explore more and take riskier risks and spend less time worrying about gunk and more time picking myself up, dusting myself off, and stepping further! Because further is closer to something... I don't know what! But I know that's where I want to end up, so let's go there already!
*gasp. pant.* (end long-winded ramble.)
But, you know what? When all is said and done, I know I wouldn't take even one tiny step backwards again even if I had the chance. As I've been busy growing UP, I've also been busy growning OUT of a lot of icky things. (And I'm not just talking about my hyper-color pant suit or my Miami Dolphins Hammer Pants...)
I'm less selfish. (thanks, ezra!) I've gained little nuggets of wisdom. (thanks, parents!) I don't OBSESS over what to wear or who will notice. (except you, chris... hubba hubba!)
Sometimes I pass by those airy, "OMG HE SAID WHAT? OHNOHEDIDN'T" type girls on the street and I'm reminded that there's SO much more to life than what's directly in front of us. I'm OK with not having all the answers, but I'm not OK with completely giving up the search and assuming that all roads ended at my feet when I was born. Because, if I had everything MY way, there'd be WAY too many cheese puff factories in this world and fish would be illegal. (not fishing, but FISH.)
Afterall, I'm glad I still feel like that awkward, 'all elbows-and-knees' girl that I used to be. I know I'm still her.
I've just grown into my arms a bit... I think.