My son asked me the other day what I was doing in the year 2000, after a documentary we came across on television about Y2K. Sometimes, I look at the current year as I write a check or update the calendar and can hardly believe it’s already 2016.
What was I doing in 2000, I thought? I had just turned 21. I was a pretty lost soul, trying to figure out just who I was. I was in college, deciding if I wanted my major to change. I took classes like International Marketing as an elective instead of something easy, to graduate sooner and get work towards my future Master’s Degree done. I was in a terrible relationship that I had a large part in making worse, in part because my heart was still in love with someone else who didn’t love me back. I was excitingly cast in my first and only play – a very small role but fun to be a part of. I was working two jobs, one of which I absolutely loved. My nights began at 10 p.m. instead of wrapping up then. And oh, I made plenty of lesson-learning mistakes.
I can remember wishing that I would just figure out where I belonged in the world. I’d always been timid and shy but tried to hide it behind a goofy personality. I’d stopped talking to many of my high school friends because they all seemed so sure of their futures and their paths in life, and it intimidated me. It scared me that they knew exactly what they wanted to be when they graduated. They had plans and significant others and I still had no idea where I was going. And while I had some really great friends during college, I also had surrounded myself with some people who were as lost and unhappy as I was – and that just made me feel even more confused. I was great at hiding it. Though I always had people around me, I felt pretty alone.
I happened to watch my favorite movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, during this time. One part always stood out in particular to me - where Idgie goes to pick up Ruth and bring her home with them to live. Ruth had demanded Idgie leave when she’d arrived on a visit years prior, and they hadn’t spoken since. But when that letter came from Ruth, along with the Bible verse of Ruth 1:16 highlighted, Idgie went back to get her friend, no questions asked.
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."
I loved the sentiment of that verse. I loved what it meant for the characters. And I loved the idea that despite the distance life can sometimes put between people, those who love us will always be there when we need them.
I did manage to mend some of the friendships I’d drifted from, but some I was too timid to reach out about. I eventually found my path in life and a career I enjoy. I found a great man who loves me as much as I love him, and have two beautiful babies that I’d dreamed about for as long as I could remember.
“Mom,” he asked again, surely noticing my mind had drifted off (as it often does). “What were you doing in 2000?”
“I was in college,” I replied.
“What was the best thing you learned in college?” Oh, smart kid - using the same question on me that I use on him daily when he gets home from school.
“That no matter where life takes you,” I replied, “the people who love you will always be there for you, and you should do the same for them.”
“I meant in school,” he replied, clearly unsatisfied with my (oh-so thoughtful) answer.
“Well then,” I said, “I learned that year that my international marketing plan to bring Krispie Kreme donuts to Switzerland would have landed me in bankruptcy.”
“You’re so weird, Mom.”
Weird, yes, but lost? Not anymore.