Ten years ago, I was on the edge of seventeen and sitting in my high school psychology class, mulling over this assignment: it was just two questions I had to answer, but they were big questions. The kind of open-ended, shape-shifting, soul-searching questions that you’ll ask and answer throughout your life and never the same way twice.


I remember trying to project a decade into the future. Trying to picture myself at 27 years old. Imaging what kind of life I might have — what kind of life I thought back then would make me happy now.

Yesterday, I turned 27. Moody and nostalgic as I always am on my birthday, I dug out my old box of keepsakes. I found this paper in a portfolio of work that I had to submit in order to graduate high school. I hadn’t set out to find anything specific. I wasn’t looking for anything other than proof that I have existed for 27 years. But this was, somehow, exactly what I needed to read.

A little something in my eye here . . . ah yes, a grain of sand. The sands of time have been kicked up in my face once again. Happy Birthday, baby.

Reading through this, what strikes me is that I’m realizing it’s not that I wish I’d grown up to be the woman I’d imagined, that I’d wanted to be. . .I wish I’d grown up to be more like the woman I’d already become at 17.

Abby Norman is a science writer & the author of ASK ME ABOUT MY UTERUS: A QUEST TO MAKE DOCTORS BELIEVE IN WOMEN’S PAIN. She lives in New England with her dog, Whimsy.

𝑎 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑎𝑔 ം abbynormanwriter.com

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