In Her Words
My Old Self
Finding what I wanted all along
By: Alena Jemas
Confession: I never thought I’d be married before 30.
In fact, my idol when I was younger was my mother’s good friend Celia, a kick-ass, 40- something litigator with an apartment overlooking Central Park and a string of men practically groveling to marry her.
When I first moved to New York, that’s what it was about. It was about moving up the ladder in the entertainment industry, about dark corners in small bars with strange men, about working my ass off and partying just as hard, about short skirts and high heels and numbers written on napkins stuffed into my clutch. When you’re not on the hunt for a husband, dating takes on a whole new spin.
When I met my fiance’ Mike, everything changed. I mean everything. It was like I was viewing the world through a kaleidoscope of hedonism, then he gently took the kaleidoscope away and suddenly everything was clear. The hedonism? It didn’t look so pretty.
This past weekend I met up with a friend from the old days, a friend who still looks at New York as her own personal playground. A friend whose misadventures in dating had me open-mouthed and wide-eyed over brunch. A friend who still inhabits the universe that we used to inhabit together, before I departed for Relationshipville.
There is no keeping a foot in each world. I tried, for a bit. It’s damn near impossible.
Like I said, Mike changed everything. Mike made me want to be a better person. Mike made me want to be a wife. I look at him and I see a future quite unlike Celia’s. I see a lovely suburban home and adored children and an all-around wonderful existence that doesn’t include dating a few men at a time and going out five nights a week, waking up hungover and unable to remember half of the night. I see happiness. Hell, I see a Mommy blog.
I still miss my old self. I even thought of pulling out some of my old clothes, putting on red lipstick and going as 22-year-old Alena this past Halloween. She was fun and carefree and uninhibited and unconcerned about anything other than the moment. In contrast, I now tend to live in the future and go to bed at 11 p.m., even on weekends; planning a wedding will do that to you.
I miss her, and I’m glad I was her for a time. But, for the most part, I’m glad that time has passed.
“Who knew?” My friend said to me Sunday afternoon, as we sipped wine at noon (some old habits die hard). “Who knew that what you have now is really what you didn’t know that you wanted all along?”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Tell us: Are you a different person now than you were then?