Now that I’m older


When I was two years old, the first memory that I recall occurred. I cannot explain its moral detail or why this particular memory is my first, but I ran outside naked, bare, and in the flesh. We lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida then, where humid summers and afternoon rain was a daily thing, along with adventures to the backyard pool, which is where I often spent my day held by my arm floaties, kicking and playing with the water I was submerged in.

When I was three years old, after we moved to Grand Rapids, my sister, Kristen, was born. I remember my parents constantly asking me what I, her future older, cooler, sister would like to name her, though they wanted me to pick a K- sounding name. My choices were Christine, Katherine, or Kristen. And I, not knowing the meaning of this name too terribly at the time, picked the one I believed sounded the most pleasing to say.

. But now that I’m older, I’ve realized that these moments have built up who I am. I just didn’t know it at the time.”

When I was six years old, I made my first best friend; the girl who lived next door. We were the same age and went to the same school. To this day, I still have pictures of us playing in a blow-up pool and I still have the American Girl Doll outfits that we traded and switched out between each other. I remember playing “house” and opening our imaginations into a world in which we were mermaids, playing on her family’s sailboat sitting in their front yard.

When I was eight years, my family adopted Lucy and Peggy, whom we still have to this day. And though I was more excited about the idea of adopting kittens and raising them, I’ve discovered my care for helping others, as well as the importance of welcoming others into the family. I learned responsibility.

When I was 14, I had my first failure at love. As terribly heartbreaking and awful as it seemed, being that I was fresh in high school trying to figure myself out, it really wasn’t that bad. It was my first real learning lesson – one that I learned entirely on my own. I realized that we cannot get along with everyone, but we can make an effort to respect differences, and that one is most certainly not bound to find their soulmate at age 14.

When I was 16, I found the power and emotional connection I want to pursue with God, which is something I found through youth group. I realized that I have a never-ending desire to help others and urgent need to be kind to others, even when it’s not reciprocated, and that He’s the one helping me grow old and wise at a unique time in my life when I’m still learning.

But I’m older now, and although these memories make up who I am and my past, I’ve realized that most of them are simply silly, and although some of them may seem childish, they have meaning to them.

My first memory is the first part of me that remembers living and being on this Earth, and picking out my sister’s name was something that will be a big part of her life, especially when the fate of that was put in the hands of a three-year-old. My first best friend was the person who I cared to spend every moment of every day with, and adopting my pets was my first step of responsibility. I learned that the love of your life doesn’t have to come at an early age, though it may seem like a life and death situation. And I learned through my love for a special group of people that my religious beliefs are a large part of who I am today.

Yet I have more memories to make, considering that I have several passions and desires that I would like to pursue. I know it won’t come easy, and I know I’ll still make silly mistakes along the way, some of which will last as memories like these. But now that I’m older, I’ve realized that these moments have built up who I am. I just didn’t know it at the time.