Six years and 40 pounds ago

Published 5:06 pm Friday, August 25, 2017

There was a photo posted on Facebook early Friday morning of the 2012 staff of the Georgia College and State University newspaper, The Colonnade.

I scanned over the recognizable faces of the various staff members, editors and writers from that era, reminiscing on the fun times I had working with all of them. I paused on one face that wasn’t immediately recognizable.

It was me! That is, a version of me that was 40 pounds lighter and hardly a strand of silvery-grey hair in my luscious head of hair.

I looked at the shirt I was wearing in the photo, shocked with how it fit on my lean body back then. I still have that shirt in my drawer now, but Lord knows I would never actually wear it in public unless I was dressing as the Incredible Hulk for Halloween.

My smile looked a lot bigger back then, too. More of my mouth covered my face. I got up from the computer and smiled into the mirror. Well, no wonder. I had less real estate on my face for a smile to take up in 2012. Nowadays, my mouth is sandwiched between two large cheeks that seem to be getting bigger by the year, making my mouth look smaller and smaller. Go figure.

The photo was taken when I was 21 years old. I turn 27 this fall. If I had the time and space to tell you all the changes I’ve been through the past six years in addition to my figure, you’d be locked in for a saga longer than the Canterbury Tales. It all falls in line with what I was told by a number of people in my adolescence: you go through a lot of changes in your 20s, mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and on and on.

While that notion is frightening to think about—nobody likes the idea of going through big, scary changes—as someone who is well over the hill to 30, I can say it’s 100 percent true. I can also say it’s not quite as scary as I thought it would be.

It takes a level of savviness to make it completely on your own. I think a lot of people forget just how much of a transition it is to make a name for yourself in the real world. Getting out from under the wing of your parents or guardians is a major step forward, one that shapes you, molds you into a stronger, more confident member of society. Taking on a job, bills, activities in my community and still finding the time to cook dinner (or sometimes grabbing it from Wendy’s) might have added a few pounds to my waist, but it’s also a very visual reminder of what my life has been for the past six years. I think that’s pretty cool.

So while I sometimes wish I could go back to my 2012 self like in that photo posted on Facebook, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had since then for anything. I would imagine lots of people feel the same.

It’s one of the great conundrums of life, I suppose.