A question is circulating on Twitter this morning: “Would 17 year old you be proud of the person you are today?” I saw the question and instantly thought “probably not.” Then I had to unpack why. This imaginary younger me is lacking thirty years of experience and context to understand the triumphs, joys, and compromises behind the person I’ve become. She didn’t understand disability. She didn’t understand systemic racism. She didn’t understand love, sex, parenting, religion, gender, power, or anything else in the complex and nuanced ways that I have come to understand. Because of all this, her opinion of me would necessarily be ill-informed and possibly negative.
The more critical question is: “Am I pleased with the person I am today?” The answer to that is a clear “Yes.” I like who I am becoming. I like the life I have built. I am comfortable with my regrets and griefs as I learn to incorporate them into who I am. I like the dreams I’m currently reaching for and the plans I have for living inside pandemic restrictions. I’m excited to see what else comes my way once pandemic restrictions are lifted. I am happy to be thirty years past the opinions of 17 year old me.