An Equation for Evolution, This Week At Least

25 + (20 – $5) + 20/20  = 500

Let’s start with 25…

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I’m in the lower left, grabbing my left boob in an archaic inside kind of joke thing that we did back in 1990.

I’m still processing everything that happened this weekend at my 25 year college reunion. One thing that has sat with me for days is the idea of evolution. A friend complimented how much I had “evolved” at one of our class parties. At first, I tried to turn it into a joke–like I was winning the tiny trophy for “Most Improved.” Then I corrected myself and accepted her gift of that word. She meant good things–how we navigate growing up successfully when we develop and diversify based on the things that happen to us. I have done that. We get our edges worn away and we figure out what works. Yep, done some of that, too. We keep moving and changing. We grow. So yeah, I guess I have evolved in the last 25 years.

+ 20

It’s been 20 years since I married Fartbuster, as of today. I wonder what it would be like to sit across a table from the me that was me 20 years ago and listen to her. At 26, I was excited to be getting married…FINALLY. wedding-407487_640I don’t think I ever took a moment to ask, “What’s in this for me?” All I wanted was To Be Married, so I married the person I loved at the time. I didn’t spend much time thinking about What I Wanted In a Partner. I thought that love was enough. I didn’t understand much about the other two things–honor and cherish. I didn’t consider whether he honored me and I figured he would learn to cherish me. I did love him. I think he loved me. But we were 26. How would I see that young woman–would I pity her, admire her innocence, or get fed up with an earful of her bullshit?

-$5

At the rehearsal dinner 20 years ago, I walked across the restaurant and knelt down beside our family friend, Wally. My mom snapped a photo as I handed Wally a crisp $5 bill. After a quick “Do you remember that time…,” Wally and I roared with laughter over something I had told him 6 years before.

The summer between my junior and senior years of college, my then boyfriend went on a long vacation with his family. I felt miserable and alone, and super jealous that he was cruising in Greece while I was working as a temp secretary in a credit office. My mom and I were over at Wally’s house for dinner one night and I kept moping and sighing and missing my beloved. There was a teensy bit of angsty wallowing going on.

Wally got sick of hearing it and told me to get over it, and knowing Wally’s acerbic tongue, it was along the lines of “Young love, my ass.” He and my mom laughed. I shouted, “Y’all think you know everything just because you’re older. I’ll have you know that I know myself and I love him and I will always love him!” Wally hooted and snapped, “I bet you FIVE DOLLARS that you don’t even know where that boy is five years from now.”

"Oh YEAH? We're young but we are IN LOVE."

“Oh YEAH? We’re may be young but we are IN LOVE.”

Wally was right. I had no idea where that boy had gotten to, and here I was marrying a different true love. So I paid him his five bucks.

(20/20)

Twenty twenty hindsight. I’ve acquired some of that over the years. That junior in college really did love her boyfriend with everything she had–but it didn’t last another year. And the young bride handed over $5 in recognition of what a wise old friend knew that she didn’t. The divorced woman at 31 learned the hard way that she should have asked some sharper questions before making those vows. The widow at 36 didn’t have anything to regret, but everything to lose. Now the mother at 46 looks back on them all with loving kindness.

Given the 20/20 nature of hindsight, I feel empathy for the me that was a few hours away from marrying Fartbuster twenty years ago. I’d give her a hug more than a talking to, because she was doing her best.

Evolving is about going THROUGH life experiences, not trying to skip them or stay safe or rush past. When life ends up teaching a tough lesson, my hope is that I will pack it up for the journey and keep moving.

MD39The-Best-Way-Out-Robert-Frost-Posters

=500

And this is the 500th post on Baddest Mother Ever. I’ve learned so much in this space and over these two years. To accept who I am now and accept that I was doing my best back then. To love, honor, and cherish MYSELF above all others, even the ones I love. May we all continue to evolve.

5 thoughts on “An Equation for Evolution, This Week At Least

  1. Michelle

    Life is truly a journey, not a destination. I have pondered the last few days, too. Some of that pondering left me a little more vulnerable than I liked. Then yesterday I was bemoaning a past ‘love’ and realized that had I never had that experience, I may have never known the love of my life now. On what path would we be, if we didn’t travel through? I think we’d be stuck at that 4 way flashing stop light … still. stuck. Thank you my friend for taking us on this journey, and for giving us hope that it’s OK to be authentic and vulnerable when you’re in a safe space.

    Reply
  2. Karen

    When I encounter a patient who is lamenting a decision they made earlier in life, I simply ask “did you do what you thought was best at that time? That very moment?” Inevitably they answer yes, and I remind them that it was the perfect decision for them – who they were and what they wanted at that very moment in their life. And I keep trying to remind myself as well. We are all the sum of what we have been through. I couldn’t be me today if I wasn’t who I was then.

    Reply
  3. Mike Spike

    Congratulations on 500 posts, friend. You’ve evolved your way right into the successful writer you always were anyway. Only now a whole lot of readers know about your heart-filled, thought-provoking, insightful artwork. Here’s to the next 500 stories. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Baddest Mother Ever Post author

      Thank you, my love! I still think we should co-author a series about mystery-solving teens.

      Reply
  4. Marie

    I wish your 46-year-old self had been around when I was growing up, and when I was floundering around in my 20s, and in my 30s, and even my 40s when I was still pretty much clueless about pretty much everything. I’ve had far too many Fartbusters in my life, and of course they all took advantage of me. In just the past few years I’ve started overcoming the toxic input in my life, and I’ve finally come to the realization that not everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt from me. You’re a wise, self-aware person, and I’m glad I’m getting to know the deeper you from you blog. Thanks.

    Reply

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