Good Tidings: I’ve Become a WHAAAAT?!?
Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.
“First of all,” 35-year old Josie (35J) declares to 45 year-old Josie (45J), “We don’t even drink coffee. Why not catch up with a glass of Chardonnay?”
“That question segues nicely into my biggest news,” replies 45J. “Although I’d rather have had more time to build up to this, I might as well dive in. Coffee, in fact, is our beverage of choice, as we now identify as an alcoholic.”
Silence. Dumfounded, disbelieving, dead silence, followed by some polite overtures to end this ridiculous conversation that is clearly based in fiction. Once convinced that 45J knows what she is talking about, 35J has lots of arguments:
“We have been drinking, without a remote incident, for better than 15 years now. How can one go from having no problem with alcohol to being an alcoholic that needs to attend meetings, abstain from ingesting anything mind-altering, and work the 12 steps of recovery?” How does that happen?
“We don’t have enough time to go into those details, this is only a coffee date, but it is true, battling addiction will be the most challenging issue you will face in the next 10 years. And you will not only battle it once with alcohol, but you will do it again a few years later with pain medicine. The consequences of that addiction will extend further than the active addiction itself.”
“As difficult as this entire conversation is to believe, the content of the conversation is even more unbelievable. I barely know what pain medication is, and I’ve never been sick a day in my life. I’m not even sure what follow-up questions to ask at this point!”
“Amazingly, the most challenging thing you have to deal with in the next ten years, addiction, becomes the most rewarding thing,” reveals 45J. “Recovering from addiction, participating in a 12-step fellowship, and employing those principles as part of your everyday life allows us to live, comfortable in our own skin, in a way we never dreamed possible.”
“Well that, at least sounds promising,” responds 35J ruefully. “Tell me something, do we ever lose all the weight we want and become the size 6 we dream?”
“No, weight loss continues to be on our list of goals, but two positive things do change: We never gain back any of the weight we lost the year you are in, and we also gain a healthier perspective on our body image. The obsession to be a size 6 fades away, and we are working towards an acceptance of ourselves as we are, rather than what we think we should be.”
“Hmm, sounds lovely,” murmurs 35J, completely unconvinced. “What about this backwoods area we live… do we ever get out?”
“We do, in less than 2 years we will get a chance to move, and it gives us everything that we wish for. But, as they say, be careful what you wish for… we want neighborhood camaraderie, but we are woefully unprepared for the social pressure it puts on us. We long to live closer to family, but we fail to anticipate the obligations that proximity creates.”
“That sounds dismal!” exclaims 35J.
“Well, did we think everything in our future is sunshine and lollipops? Here’s the reality: in the next ten years, there will be a boatload of things, good and bad that will be handed to us: awesome vacations, along with tense family showdowns. Milestones in our children’s lives, disappointment in our children’s lives. Loss of loved ones, new additions to our family. Some we will handle better than others, but the best news of all: we are still around to live our life, to learn from our mistakes, and to continue to grow and become a better person.”
“It’s really hard to figure out pronoun usage when we’re talking to ourselves, isn’t it?” remarks 35J.
“We said it,” replied 45J.