Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wild dreams fall short

I went to the drugstore today, in search of a shampoo that would help eliminate chlorine build-up. (I’ve been swimming quite a bit.) I was surprised to find a brand I used more than twenty years ago: Nexxus Aloe Rid.

Smelling the shampoo as I lathered transported me back to my early teens. I closed my eyes to rinse it off and felt I was back in my room at my father’s house. We used to spend weekends by the pool, swimming, lying in the sun and eating jicama with lemon and chili powder.

I remember that room, and the sense of independence it gave me. (It wasn’t inside the house – hurray!) I liked to read (Nancy Drew), listen to music (The Beatles) and write in my journal. Above all else, I’d wonder what I would do when I grew up. I didn’t dream, or imagine anything specific – I just felt awash in possibilities. From birth I had been assured I had potential, but what did that mean? What would I do? Where would I live?

In my wildest (and not entirely original) dreams, I imagined me living in a house by the ocean. Inside that house, I knew I would be writing. Which is exactly what I’m doing – but so much more. I’m happy. I like the person that I am. I don’t depend on others economically (a primal concern of mine growing up), have one of the best marriages of anyone I know, and for the most part, like what I do for a living.

If I could talk to me, to the girl I was all those years ago, she would be incredulous. She would be proud. She would love Luca (and would think that the fact he’s Italian was totally cool). She’d be completely impressed with what I do for a living (YOU? In high tech? HA!). She’d laugh at the fact I like to cook and that I pride myself in being a good housewife. (I love to do laundry and iron.) If I took her on one of my hikes, she’d find it hard to believe I live in such a beautiful place. She’d be wide-eyed with my mountain biking abilities. I’d tell her I love to travel, and she’d nod. (She’d already know that.)

That curly haired kid would ask me why the heck I haven’t written a book. (I’m going, I’m going!)

The fact that the person I am today would make the girl I was yesterday proud hadn’t really occurred to me, and it makes me feel like the most fortunate human being on Earth.

All this from an eight-dollar bottle of shampoo. What a steal.

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