There are times I come back here and re-read the various posts and things I wrote back when I was a completely different person. There are things that make me cringe, opinions I would never have now, and experiences now-me would definitely label as mistakes.
But life is funny that way. It has a habit of propelling us forward, no matter what plans we may have for ourselves. There are things in my life now I never saw coming, both good and bad. But would I change it?
This blog began as an honest travel blog. When I started it, I was eager to see the world and share what I saw with friends and family. Along the way, I amassed followers I hadn’t met, interacted with people I had no idea I’d get the chance to meet. As life changed around me and I changed with it, travelling didn’t leave my mind but it did become less important. My voice changed from wide-eyed to more relaxed, blase. I changed focus to my home, the handmade community, and my career as a photographer.
These aren’t changes I in any way regret, but definitely didn’t anticipate. If you had asked me five years ago to describe Jillian in 2018, my description would be way off base. I don’t think 2013 Jillian would be disappointed to hear it, though. There’s something very peaceful about my life now, and it’s nice. I feel good about where I’m going and who I’m going with. And it’s not that travel isn’t still an interest or priority, it’s just that there are things happening that are just a bit more important right now. Everything comes with time.
But, if I’m being honest, I miss traveller-me. She was curious, adventurous, and often walked outside her comfort zone if only just to say she had. There are tons of things I did just to understand what it felt like to have done them. By contrast, now-me has bills to pay (including a mortgage), and is full- or part-owner of several local businesses, and has to take into consideration she’s one half of a marriage. Responsibilities add up and it’s not that I don’t have fun, it’s just fun is not as carefree (or maybe reckless) as it once was. When I think of the difference between traveller-me and now-me, I know how it happened because I remember it all happening – I know the story. But nonetheless, sometimes I still sit here and ask myself, “how did this happen?”
And while I do miss traveller-me, I wouldn’t really want to be her again. If I was somehow flung back in time, I’d be tapping my foot impatiently for time to catch back up to where I am now. I can honestly say I’m a completely different person and I would feel uncomfortable in my past-self’s life. She would claim I was censoring her, I would say I’m trying to get her to see the other side of things. She would say I was being boring, I would say I’m being practical. It would go on like this until both of us would storm off yelling, “for crying out loud!” – because that’s one thing that’s never really changed and probably never will.
No life is ever truly perfect, but all lives have perfections in them. There are things from my past-self I’d be happy to reacquaint myself with. Honestly, I don’t feel anything has been lost, more that it’s been shelved temporarily in the interest of practicality and maybe a little bit of compassion to those around me. But life can’t all be practical. I can’t always live for the job or for the community, no matter how much I love them and want to continue building them. It couldn’t hurt to live outside of those things a bit, finding my way to balance the curiosity with which my past-self met life alongside the practical mindfulness I currently live by.
Where does this leave my posts? If you’ve followed this blog before, you’ll notice a lot is missing and that’s because I went and turned the majority of it to private. I have no shame in those posts I wrote before, even if now-me might not agree anymore with what past-me said. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the journey I’ve been on or want to hide that from you, it’s that there’s so much of me out there on the internet, maybe it’s time to take some things for myself. I want to write the new and exciting, not be bogged down by old themes and stories on this site.
And here is where I’d be making a grandiose commitment to blogging again. But I know myself better than that. Wanting a thing doesn’t make it a reality. Being motivated to do a thing does. Here’s hoping I find that motivation, but even if I don’t, being able to come back here and check in with my past-self is a great thing, even if it is just for me.