then vs. now

Meme taken from Laura Anne Gilman:

THEN: May 1996
NOW: May 2006

1) How old were you?
THEN: 23
NOW: 33

2) Where did you work?
THEN: gaijin ESL teacher for GEOS (Japanese company)
NOW: full-time writer and mother of twins

3) Where did you live?
THEN: Nara, Japan
NOW: Los Angeles

4) How was your hair style?
THEN: straight, light brown, ridiculously long
NOW: blonder, tousled, long (but not ridiculously)

5) Did you wear contacts?
THEN: Yes
NOW: LASIK freed me

6) Did you wear glasses?
THEN: only when I absolutely had to (ie: lost a contact)
NOW: only the big dark kind, like everyone else in LA

7) Who was your best friend?
THEN: Marta Zieba — bless her subversive little heart, wherever she may be
NOW: the husband

8) Who were your pets?
THEN: not yet capable of keeping things alive
NOW: three dogs

9) Who was your partner/romantic interest?
THEN: the brooding, beautiful, flaky university boyfriend
NOW: the brilliant, gentle, hard-driving bear husband

11) Who was your celebrity crush?
THEN: David Bowie. Keanu Reeves. Kate Moss.
NOW: I am nothing if not loyal and consistent.

12) Who was your regular-person crush?
THEN: my blond cocky ESL colleague
NOW: one or two people I enjoy from a distance

13) How many piercings did you have?
THEN: ears and bellybutton
NOW: alas, just ears

14) How many tattoos did you have?
THEN: made an appt for one in Osaka tattoo parlour, didn’t go through with it
NOW: none, but continue to deliberate

15) What was your favorite band/singer?
THEN: David Bowie. Everything But The Girl. Hole. NIN. Red Hot Chili Peppers.
NOW: Dandy Warhols. Blur. Alabama 3. Bowie. Peppers.

16) Had you smoked a cigarette?
THEN: Yes
NOW: Gave ’em up after returning from Japan

17) Had you gotten drunk?
THEN: Yes.
NOW: Better understanding of my limits, thank God

18) Looking back at your decade-ago self, are you where you thought you would be in 2006?

Some ways yes, some ways no. I’m on the west coast & in a major city; I’m writing; I’ve traveled; I ended up with the husband & babies it turned out I wanted after all: a stable family life to balance the unstable inner lives of a fiction writer.

Didn’t get the M.A., which still bugs me, even though I was right to decide an academic career was not for me (would still like to do an M.A. for fun someday, part-time). Nowhere near fluent in Spanish or French, which continues to bug me. Did, however, pick up a rewarding (and unexpected) interest in cooking. Gave up martial arts, but became a bit of a gym rat.

What amazes me, though, is how, even when you end up with so many of the things you think you wanted, your life still isn’t anything you could have expected or predicted. For all my constant goal-setting and long-term dreaming and planning, the universe walloped me with things I never saw coming — the dot.com wealth, SIDS, love and loss and near-loss, blue-eyed baby boys (emphasis on the plural) — and so life proves a tough, fragile, ever-shifting, ever-fascinating thing.

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