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Looking Forward from Back Then

June 24, 2002

Today’s June Journal SMACKdown topic is “What you thought 30 would be like when you were 12”. I think it was around the time I was twelve when I first calculated how old I’d be when the year 2000 dawned—37. That seemed very old to me then. I don’t remember thinking specifically about being thirty, though. I don’t remember a whole lot about being twelve in general. Fortunately, I have My 1973-74-75 Diary to refresh my memory. This is a classic volume, the first bound blank book paper journal I kept. It’s a mess, a mix of dated and undated entries, poems and other fiction, enemies/friends lists, records of my measurements, an inventory of the flavors of chewing gum included in my gum wrapper chain, sketches, and scribbles, none of it necessarily in chronological order.

The only serious prediction for the future I could find in this journal is an entry dated November 14th (no year, but probably 1973), which begins “I think Daddy is going to die before I am 13.” I do remember that feeling, believing that with all my heart that I wouldn’t have a dad for long, that he wouldn’t be around to see me grow up the rest of the way. Of course, fortunately it didn’t happen that way; he lived until I was well past thirteen.

In the non-serious prediction arena, we have two other scenarios presented for me at 30. One page of this journal has drawings of tombstones (I was dramatic in an overwrought young girl style, obviously). On one, I listed myself with a death year of 1981, so in that case 30 wouldn’t exist for me. I’d have left this earth already, along with my husband and two young sons, evidently victims of a tragic car accident or house fire. On another, I live on, but I’m a widow at 22. Both are pretty bleak visions, but there’s that whole tragic young love thing going on, which is very appealing to a never-been-kissed geek girl. I’m glad my actual future has been far less fraught with disaster than my fantasy future circa 1974.

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