When I was a girl I loved hopscotch, the Brownies, and my cat.  I played soccer like a champ and ran like the wind and felt soaring pride when I beat boys on the field.  I had a bike with a banana seat and curved handlebars, and my pack of elementary girlfriends all watched Wonder Woman.

When I was a teen I rolled through a variety of stages, some of which probably aged my parents exponentially.  I cringe to think of that skintight black miniskirt I sported for a while, a phase my folks managed to ignore.  I worked lots of jobs but never saved my money, though I couldn’t tell you now what on earth I bought with it.  I had great friends who stood by me in good times and bad, and I managed to graduate high school with excellent grades and no misdemeanors.

When I was a young adult I thought I had all the answers.  I knew what was best for me, for the University, for the country…kids with ultra-conservative views had clearly been brainwashed by their parents.  I was never able to put myself in their shoes, to see things from their perspective, and it didn’t occur to me that they probably felt I was just as far off the mark.  I was sure of the world and my place in it.  I struggled with health problems and depression, and I wondered why things seemed so hard sometimes.  I swung between high and low, and life managed to go on in between.

When I became a mom I was a mess.  On edge from the years of infertility followed by the adoption process.  The roller coaster of emotions around adopting, the relinquishment period, finalizing, and the fears of everyone around me that the birthmom would change her mind.  Exhaustion from the constant presence of little people and always frustration – that I couldn’t seem to keep things clean or make a dinner or accomplish something during the day.  Everyone being alive when BrightSide got home seemed like a slacker goal but it was how I measured success.  I sucked at making playdates; instead my kids ran wild every afternoon, riding trikes/bikes in the cul-de-sac and playing in the yards.  It worked for us.

When I entered my forties my world began to change.  In some ways I slowed way down, taking my time and really experiencing the space around me.  In other ways I hit fast forward, not allowing myself to get bogged down in other people’s drama anymore.  I survived losing my mother and watched my dad grow and blossom as he processed his grief.  I’m open.  To living, to loving, to finding my true self and letting her shine through.

Linda’s stream of consciousness prompt comes out of nowhere and takes you on a ride.  This week the prompt is to start your post with “when.”