It's Not Thursday, But I'm Throwing It Back To 2005

My mom shared this photo with me this weekend. Despite the low quality of the patented Picture Of A Picture that I have going on here, you can see quite clearly that...... a lot has changed. Let's start with naming those in the photo. From left to right are Micah, Becky and myself. Ages are 2 years old, 10 years old, and 9 years younger than I currently am now. I wasn't actually going to state my age, but after doing the math in my head I realized that I was 34 at the time. That would explain why I look so young. Although between you and me and all the internet, I'll fully admit that I look far closer 24 than 34 in that photo. I mean, it's shocking to believe that I'd been married for 13 years and birthed 4 children at that point. And I didn't get married at the age of 11.

You guys, look how little the kids were! Becky has changed just as drastically as I have, and of course our baby grew up. I am pretending that I was standing WAY behind Becky there, which would account for the fact that my 10 year old was nearly as tall as I was. For the record, I haven't grown a bit since then. At least in height. Becky, however, has. I have grown considerably rounder, which I consider padding for my grandma years, because an angular grandma is not fun for grandkids to snuggle up with. (That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.) We'll all pretend that we never saw that hair. We've all got skeletons in our closets, okay? Don't judge.

What I can't stop looking at, however, is not the fact that I was so young and far thinner than I am now. It's the smile. I realized, while looking at that, that I don't smile nearly as often as I used to. This not only saddened me, but kind of stunned me a bit. I mulled over this disturbing bit of information for a very long time, and can only conclude that my life is more stressful now than it was, and perhaps I don't deal with stress that well? I thought I did, but maybe it affects me in ways I'm not aware of, like robbing me of joy. There really aren't words to express how this affects me. I have, however, resolved to smile more. And laugh. A lot. And in doing so, I have realized exactly how out of practice I am. I kind of want to cry somewhere over the loss of my radiant joy. Don't get me wrong - I love my life. I love everything about it. If you were to ask me at any given minute if I were happy, I'd respond with a resounding "YES!" But clearly, there are things I need to work on.

It's funny how you can look at a photo of yourself from nearly a decade ago and make a life change from it. But honestly, I want to be that person again. My weight and my wrinkles and my gray hair are part of aging and I have embraced them as such. But nobody should be robbed of joy. Ever.

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