It is July 2001 and I am 22. I have recently graduated from college, ready to join the “real” world. But first, I think I’ll stop and soak my feet in the fountains of the Louvre. Sure, why not? Just look at how relaxed I am.
(Also, try not to notice how my arms are bent really weird so they look like they’re inverted…..Did you look? Ha! Now you can’t un-see it. Weird, right? I’ve tried to avoid bending them like that since my senior year of high school when I was sitting on the heater in my AP English class and Chris Rash told me I had freaky, weird-bending arms and it grossed him out. This, from a guy who would snort a string up his nose, cough one end out of his mouth, and pretend to floss his brain – and who also had a last name that was something you got from Poison Ivy or unprotected sex. Anyway, I must’ve forgotten about my freaky arms for this picture.)
I don’t even really know the girl in this picture anymore, and she certainly doesn’t know me. I don’t remember what I was thinking in the quiet of this captured moment, but I’m sure it wasn’t about mortgages, diapers, grading, or any of the things that occupy my mind today. She’s almost unrecognizable.
I don’t have that many pictures of myself that I like, but this is one of my favorites. Artistically, it’s not really that good of a photo and I look like any other 20-something American female tourist in Paris, but I smile whenever I come across it in my photo album. That afternoon, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I was a blank slate. Unemployed, unmarried, and unencumbered by adult life. Even more, I like to think that the girl in the picture – the one who spent the summer of 2001 traipsing around Europe instead of job searching – would be really happy to meet me. She would be pleased with how we turned out.
I’m sure we all have things we would like to say to our younger selves. Personally, I would simply tell the girl in the picture, “Everything is going to be wonderful. Don’t worry about it. Enjoy this moment.”