I'm not a regular "Throwback Thursday" participant, but a few weeks ago I posted this #tbt photo to Instagram. It's a photo of me and my oldest friend, Brandi. We are sitting on her front porch on College Street on a summer day, drinking Kool-Aid through heart-shaped straw-glasses. She's wearing a jumpsuit and I'm wearing denim on denim, of course a million sizes too big. I'm not exactly sure how old we are but, based on my hair, I would guess this is the summer between 4th and 5th grade.
A few nights ago I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (oh please, you do it too) and stopped on this picture. I stared at it for a while and tried to remember this version of myself.
What filled her days? What thoughts rattled around in her mind? What did 9 year old Stephanie imagine her 31 year old life would be like? Am I living up to those expectations?
As I stared at this photo, I started to cry. I couldn't remember enough about 9 year old Stephanie to be able to answer those questions. But the tears that filled my eyes were proud tears - like the kind that inevitably come as I'm watching a runner push themselves during a race or when I hear the collective roar of a crowd applauding a job well done - as I had decided this:
That 9 year old girl would be pleased with where I've taken her so far.
I think I have exceeded her expectations. I don't think she had even heard of Seattle, let alone thought that one day she'd call it home. She definitely had never imagined that companies would give her millions of dollars and ask her to recommend how best to spend it on promoting their brand (and that when she did, they'd actually listen to her). She may have thought she'd have a family of her own, but I think she'd be pleased with the people she is surrounded with that love her like family.
It also filled me with hope for the future. If so much has happened that 9 year old Stephanie could never have dreamed of, then what amazing things are in store that 31 year old Stephanie can't imagine?
I look forward to finding out.