Luisa and I were going through some pictures today and came across this one of me taken when I was 22 - half the age I am now. We age so slowly, in increments that we can't even see and then we find old pictures of ourselves.
I had forgotten about this picture until I saw it. It was taken at a concert on a beautiful summer evening.
My first thought at seeing it after all this time was, "My god, I've gotten old."
And I have.
It's not just that my hair has gone from dark brown to silver. In the current version of myself, my jawline is sharper, the skin on my neck less firm. I wear glasses now and they are a fixture in every picture taken of me. In some ways, I am barely recognizable and in others I am unmistakable.
Looking at my younger self so pensive, I can't help but wonder what I was thinking. Was I thinking of the music or the weather or my impending move to Minneapolis and what my life might be like there. If I thought about my future at all that day, I could never have imagined the life I am living today.
I had not applied for graduate school. I had not yet met Luisa. I'd not given any serious thought to having children.
Twenty two years.
Twenty two years have passed and I have been with Luisa for almost 20 of them. We brought two children into this world. Our days are filled with a million details and responsibilities that I could not have foretold. I've lost friends and family - some to distance or misunderstandings, some to death. My life is full of love and laughter and a strong sense of community. Time has given me so much and continues to give me the strength to become ever more myself.
But seeing the concrete ways in which I have aged is not easy. I feel no different than I did at 22 except that I now have the wisdom that comes from life experience.
So how is it that I look so different?
Twenty two years.
What will the next 22 hold?