How to Recognize Your Past to Appreciate Where You Are

stormtrooper egg easter candy

A little more than a year ago, I stood outside with my 11-year-old as she took pictures of a rare winter landscape here.

“I am where I am,” I said, of course, in 27-degree weather wearing shark pajama bottoms with a curious child who goes out of her way to spend time with me. It’s also where I am, at the bottom of stairs looking up at where I hope to be or at least feel like I am someday.

Yes, you’re way down here, I told myself, but you’re looking the right direction.

Who knows what path I’ll take. But parenting, the divergent routes and surprises and development and growth and discovery of ourselves on the journey will power me upward. Meredith, who writes the blog The Mom of the Year, inspired this post.

She wrote a list of things she used to be and do, and how things have changed since – mostly in this Era AC (After Children). Here’s mine.

I used to not know a thing about Marvel Comics. Then my girls came along and got into The Avengers, and now I’ve made up that nerd time in a flash.

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I used to worry that my girls would get hurt by other kids. Now I fear for other kids.

I used to yearn for the days my kids were old enough to get big-kid toys in kids’ meals. Now, I have them bagged up 20 at a time, for $1 each, at a yard sale.

I used to listen to NPR every minute in the car. Now I check out audio books at the library because I’d rather get wrapped up in a good story than ruminate over a bad one.

I used to push past the speed limit and change lanes at every chance. Now I drive the speed limit and leave the racing to Danica Patrick.

I used to eat my age in tacos. Seriously! I would eat 12 when I was 12. Now, I take two (okay, dangit, three) and savor them.

I used to want to hold onto everything. Now I try to value the space those things occupy and weigh the cost of holding on.

I used to be impatient to find meaning or definition in every connection or discovery I made. Now, I’m eager to wait it out and enjoy the places that journey take me.


Current status: Moderately fuzzy, with a side of Grace.

I used to grow my hair long without regard to how I looked. I felt haircuts were an extravagance. (So too dressing nicely.) I’ve since discovered I feel better about my lot when I take care of myself.

I used to default to pizza slices. Now, I choose salad sometimes, and even with bacon and ranch, you know, it’s still not a bad idea.

I used to consider newspaper writing the only noble sort. Now I see nobility in so many other forms – and I struggle at times to see the nobility in newspapers.

I used to think Jennifer Connelly would make a fitting queen to my kingdom. Oh hell. I still do. Twenty years later.

I used to believe my kids shouldn’t touch their Beanie Babies. Then, Elise asked for them off the shelf so she could play with them. As a kid, I wore out my Star Wars figures. So, I pulled the Beanie Babies down and never gave a second thought to their condition.

I used to believe the concept of Karma to be selfish. Now, I still do. However, I subscribe fully to the idea of doing good for the sake of doing good, not as a cosmic deposit.

I used to want to belong. Now, I want to exist in harmony wherever I go.

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  1. Miriam says:

    Lots of wise and accepting words here Eli. Sounds as though you’re in a good place and at peace with yourself, which is wonderful. Have a great week. xo

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thank you, Miriam. At peace, yes – amid chaos and things I struggle with, even in my Zenest moments, to accept. I’m in the right spot to tackle it all, though.

      1. Miriam says:

        I’m so glad to hear that Eli.

  2. Eli, you are an inspiration. This is an honest and powerful, empowering post. You rock, Coach Daddy!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I feel more inspired than inspirational, but if a word or two here can mean something to a friend like you, then I’ll take it. I could have gone on and on about what I used to do. It was an enlightening exercise.

  3. ksbeth says:

    yes, i’ve slowed down in everything and am much more at peace, the older i’ve become. that being said, i still have a bit of mischief within me )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can see it, because you and I have known each other for 37 years now. Here’s to giving that mischief all the fuel it needs to outlive us both!

      1. ksbeth says:


  4. cricketmuse says:

    Excellent post, my friend. I’m a much more relaxed parent as an empty-nester 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks! You’ve done your time.

  5. Wow, what a remarkable transformation! What brought it on?
    Not sure if I am supposed to be shocked or impressed about the tacos!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Haha … it’s been a slow turn, Tamara. You can fully be shocked and impressed by the tacos. Metabolism plays a key role in that part.

      I’ve always wanted better living.

  6. I can relate to all of these….except Jennifer Connely. I have no idea who that is. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well, she’s one month (almost) younger than me and we’ve been in love since The Rocketeer came out (she might not know this):

  7. Great post!! Wow! Love your perspective. Hopped over from Dorky Mom Doodles. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Katherine! Glad Erika’s roundup led us to each other’s pads. I’m following you now and look forward to reading more.

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