“Some things never change,” I said, laughing with a life-long friend. We were talking about things I’d done as a child, how spunky I could be. And as much as I can still act like that feisty little girl sometimes, I’m not her any more. There’s so much more to who I am (literally and figuratively, I suppose). Sure, I can still be pretty spunky in the right circumstances, and I certainly have been known to throw an epic temper tantrum or two. But I haven’t thrown myself on the floor in a middle of an aisle in Target in a fit of rage…yet. (I may have wanted to, but I didn’t.)
I have been doing a good bit of introspection lately, though, and it may sound conceited to say this but I’m going to say it anyway: I really like the person I am right now, this person I’ve worked pretty darn hard to cultivate. I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown and changed over the past few years. Somewhere along the way I managed to move from pretending to be an adult to actually being one. It’s weird, that. (Or maybe it’s just me. I don’t know.)
But even though I really like NowBridget, I sometimes still struggle. Being an adult is hard. And it’s nothing like you expect it to be, is it? I can eat cake for dinner if I want to (which is awesome, I assure you) but I also have to wrap my still tiny little brain around some great big issues, ones that I never could have dreamed of as a child. I wrestle with my wants, beliefs, morals. Things that were once seemingly concrete simply aren’t anymore. I feel nudges in my heart that can only be divine. Yet as I stand on the edge of doing what my heart calls me to do, I never fail to get nervous. My heart starts racing. My voice wobbles. Tears puddle on my lashes. My body tells me to cut and run, but my heart says, “Stay! Stay! Stay! It won’t be easy, but stay!” Sometimes staying is harder than going, but it’s worth it in the end. Because staying means facing my demons. Staying means asking the hard questions. Staying means looking for answers, even if I don’t always like what I discover. And it’s in these moments – these moments when I feel stuck – that I strain to sift through wrong and right, good and bad. And those moments? The ones that send me searching, grasping for truth? Are the moments that truly define who I am, who I will be.
And as much as I like NowBridget, I hope she doesn’t stay around for too long. Because if there is no change, there is also no growth, no learning, nothing new. I hope that BridgetToBe will look back at NowBridget and be proud of her for stepping out when it would have been easier to stay in line. I hope BridgetToBe will be proud of NowBridget for pushing herself to dig deep and ask why and actually be open to responses, even those she might have a hard time swallowing. But mostly I hope BridgetToBe will look back and say: You tried hard. And even though you stumbled a time or two, you didn’t trip anybody else up. You held hands and wiped tears. You listened more than you talked. And you gave more than you took. You didn’t look down at some and up at others. You just saw what needed to be done, and you did it. You loved when it was hard to love, and forgave when it was hard to forgive. You opened your heart and your head to different ideas, beliefs, and standards and rejected a one-size-fits-all faith. You got hurt a little along the way, but you handled it with grace. You fought the good fight, and you kept your faith – even if it didn’t look like what you thought it would.