Growing Up

EE Cummings Quote, Growing Up

Tonight, in a moment of sheer boredom and reflection, I opened my old Yahoo account and perused some ancient IM conversations circa 2005. And as Alicia of Jaybird, so aptly tweeted, it was “fun, mortifying and nostalgic all mixed together!” I mean, talk about a time-warp! I sat here horrified and bemused by the text on the screen. Who was that girl?!

I often feel as if I’m only play acting at being an adult, so when I encountered the conversations of my 19-20 year old self, I was shocked. I hadn’t realized how much I had actually grown up since those years of Myspace and flirty IMs with soldier boys. I barely even recognize the girl I was then. While I’m sure I could still use some of that youthful optimism every now again, there are so many things I’m glad I did learn.



In my early twenties, my cooking skills ranged from scrambled eggs to microwavable meals. I always dated people who could cook, so who needed to learn anyway? I call that being resourceful.

Now a days, I’m actually quite comfortable in the kitchen whipping up a variety of dishes from Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and more. For me, being independent equals being able to provide a decent meal for myself.


In the past, my self-esteem was tied into the opinions of others. I allowed them to dictate whether or not I was worthy. Was I pretty enough? Skinny enough? Smart enough? They would tell me.

Now, the only opinion that matters is my own. And I know that I. Am. Enough. I may still struggle with my own body image from time to time, but I have learned that my self-worth is not tied to a number on the scale or the warped concepts of beauty that others may possess.


I was such an insecure, shy and easily embarrassed young woman who could blush at the drop of a hat. I grew up being teased in my household and hated being laughed at by anyone. I would never have been caught making a joke at my own expense.

These days, I’m the first one to laugh when I trip over my words or my own feet, like that time in London. I’ve learned that life is way too short too worry about being embarrassed. Besides, those embarrassing moments always make the best stories.

What have you learned over the years? Would you recognize your 20 year old self?

  • Amanda

    I always say that I would love to have my 20 year old body back but definitely not my 20 year old mind! haha

    • Haha! I’m definitely with you there! Why can’t we have those bodies now? πŸ™‚

  • Nic

    I would definitely cringe if I read some of my IM chats I don’t think I would believe it is me who wrote them so much has changed since I was 20 a long long time ago hehe.

  • I would not want to re-live some of the silly things I’m sure I had said in my early 20 s πŸ˜‰ I didn’t really start cooking until my 30s and even now P does most of the cooking πŸ˜‰ I enjoy the eating part. When I lived alone I use to live off of frozen dinners, popcorn and cheese πŸ™‚

    • Haha. I LOVE the eating part. πŸ™‚ Troy cooks when he can, but he usually gets home late from work. And it sounds like we had the same menu during our single gal days. πŸ˜€

  • I don’t have any old IM messages to reminisce over (kinda would be fun!), but I am SURE that my 20-yr old was: too dependent on what other’s thought, immature, not respectful, and definitely COULD NOT COOK. Some people think it’d be fun to relive those days, but like you, I like (LOVE) myself now. I can laugh at myself, I am confident in my body, and over the years many people have taught me how to be more respectful of others. Yay for growing up :).

    • It’s moments like this that I’m glad I enjoy saving old notes and messages! It’s so much fun to look back, but also so mortifying! haha. I’m so glad that you LOVE yourself now. πŸ˜€ I think that’s one of the most important lessons we learn as we age.

  • Crazy how just a few years can change us, isn’t it? I enjoy things that I never though I would…like cooking for instance. And now I have things on my bucket list that I never thought I would care about….like wanting to learn how to grow a garden. What?!?! Or learning how to sew would be nice.

    I also don’t care what people think anymore. I have come to terms with you either like me or you don’t…I am not here to please everyone. I will speak whats on my mind, even if it is not the popular opinion.

    • Haha! YES! I have done things I never thought I would do or even consider doing. πŸ˜€ It’s amazing how much we can change in such a short time.

  • I thank all the deities every day I grew up before the age of the internet! πŸ˜‰

    • Haha! I’m thankful I grew up before the age of smart phones. Those weren’t out until maybe college. I’m sure I would have gotten into a lot of trouble otherwise. πŸ˜€

  • I’ve reread some of my gmail chats with a certain ex and I literally cringe inside….I am so glad I am not that dumb and naive anymore! I am embracing my 30’s with open arms!!

    • Haha. I have several IMs with a few exes and they’ve taught me that hindsight is definitely 20/20. I’m glad we’ve both grown out of our naivety! πŸ˜€

  • Recently my friend and I re read emails from when we were 19. I seemed much angrier and more bitter and cynical at the world back then.

    But it was amusing. I had a different crush every week and was easily excited about things. Whilst still being cynical.

    I often feel you and me are kindred spirits you often say almost the exact same things as me. Although I could cook at that age I often thought why bother. And I couldn’t laugh at myself and I linked my self worth and self esteem to others.

    • I’m glad that you are no longer as angry and bitter. πŸ™‚ Life’s too short to not enjoy it.

      We do seem to have a lot in common. πŸ˜€ I knew how to cook basic things at that age, but I never bothered to learn anything else. I dated guys who could cook and they treated me. Haha. I’m so glad that we’ve both learned to laugh at ourselves and not to link our self-esteem to others. πŸ˜€ Those are some of my favorite lesson from growing up.

  • I am going to enter my 17s soon but still, my cooking skills are way too terrible. I hope 20s would be easy on my poor skills πŸ˜‰

    • Haha! Thankfully, in this day and age if you can work a microwave or an oven you’ll be okay. πŸ˜€ I’d start off learning some simple recipes though.

  • my friend recently sent me an email exchange from 2006 and it was hilarious and mortifying so i know just how you feel! i’ve all semi learned to cook too but need to keep improving!

    • I’m always looking for new recipes to try, so I’m still learning too. πŸ™‚ My parents find it so hard to believe that I actually cook now.

  • I have learned to go a bit easier on myself πŸ™‚ A bit… I still struggle!

    • Me too! I think it’s a common struggle, but hopefully we’ll get the hang of it. πŸ˜€

  • Ugh just reading old emails or texts make me cringe. I am so much more confident in myself and the person I am. I was a little to much of a people pleaser and now I can say no more (even if I need to still work on it).

    • That’s the one thing that happens with age that I’m happy about – confidence. Haha. I’m so glad that you have found your confidence too! πŸ˜€

  • I’m too old to have IMs from when I was 20 (I’m almost 37) but when I think back to some of the stuff I did, said, and thought, I’m actually quite impressed with how much I’ve grown up. The most interesting part, though, is that my husband is the boyfriend of my 20 year old self. Yup, we’ve been together that long!

    • Haha. I have notes from middle school (before IMs were the big thing) that my friends and I wrote to each other. Now THAT’S funny to read! WOW! You and your hubby have been together for a long time. Congratulations! That’s so sweet. πŸ™‚