Our brains have this funny way of forgetting how much life changes over time. What’s happening right here, right now, can overshadow both the reality of the past and the potential for the future. At Coffee Social this week, the game was to tell us what your life was like ten years ago and what you imagine it could be like ten years from now.
Ten years ago, I had a nice little house in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco, and was friends with a few neighbors. I had a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter who had just started preschool; nearly every morning, she would throw a back-arching fit when I tried to get her into her car seat. I was working four days a week as the Senior Associate at a little boutique architecture firm in Hayes Valley with a fantastic boss but projects I found less than fulfilling. My husband was working long hours, our floors were strewn with toys, our sleep was regularly interrupted, and we had very little personal time.
Today, I’m about to move to a little piece of land with a horse barn on the edge of Petaluma, and am blessed with more friends than I could have ever imagined. My daughter is now twelve-and-a-half, and her love of horseback riding has transformed all our lives. She’s also gaining a lot of independence – becoming the babysitter instead of the babysittee! I have a thriving coworking space (an idea I hadn’t even heard of ten years ago) that is filled with so many fabulous people that I always enjoy going to work. My husband has a much more flexible career, and our parental duties are split pretty evenly. And my life from ten years ago seems like a distant memory.
Ten years from now, I still hope to be living in Petaluma (I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be). My daughter will be graduating from college and probably going on to graduate school, if her plan to become a vet doesn’t change. I imagine I’ll use the empty-nest time to start a new project to make the world a little better, finally build that modest dream house, and go on a few big adventures with my husband.
As we went around the table Tuesday morning, the stories people told painted a beautiful picture of how life evolves. Since the age range at WORK runs from mid-twenties to late-seventies, that alone makes for an incredible breadth of experience. Ten years ago, some people at Coffee Social were still in high school, while others had just lost a spouse. But the lessons are the same. The only constant is change.
Taking a decade perspective helps me appreciate the current moment even more. Right here, right now, I have the opportunity to enjoy my fabulous daughter, who is old enough to have sophisticated conversations, yet young enough to still want to spend time with me. She’s also old enough to leave at home, so we can sneak out for a date now and then. My parents are healthy, active, and available for both projects and parties. My sister and her two little kids live close enough that I can spend real quality time in their lives. And I have all of you, a smart, sweet, supportive community that keeps me laughing and thinking…and changing.
I can’t predict what my life will be like a decade from now, but I know it will be different. There’s no getting around that, and since I’m one who likes variety I’ll accept that change is a good thing. Our days on this planet are limited, so I want to pack mine full of rich experiences and wonderful people.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Published March 2nd, 2017
Written and photographed by Natasha Juliana. (In looking for a photo from 2007, I discovered ten years ago was our last trip to Hawaii. We went for a wedding – they’re now divorced.) Edited by Linda Jay.