For some reason, I often imagine meeting High School Jaclyn and watching her brain melt out of her ears if she were to the woman she would turn into.

I am, to put it lightly, not very much like the girl I was in high school. Oh sure, I still love to read and write. I still love Donald Duck and going to the movies. I still love my same best friend and my family. But there are so many details that make me ME that would probably shock and possibly disappoint 16-year-old Jac.

In no particular order:

1. I like to drink. I am not an alcoholic. I don’t drink even weekly. But when I do, I know what I like. I love whiskey. If it’s the good kind, I want it straight up, neat. I like dirty gin martinis. I think Hefeweizen and German wheat beers are delicious. A good glass of Gewürztraminer can make any dinner better. Now, I didn’t drink in college. The first time I got so much as tipsy was the new year’s eve when I was 20 years old. I was with one of my close friends from high school. I called my mom at midnight and said, “Mom, I’m drunk! Kevin got me drunk!” (I wasn’t. Seriously, it was just the first time I had had anything.) My mom’s response: “Good for you!”

Adult Jac with said 39-year-old fiance, the bestie since fifth grade and (gasp) a shot. Well, one of these three things would look familiar to high school me. (Also, why do Steph and Jeff get to look so cute in this pic, and I get to look like … that?)

2. I’m engaged to a man who is 10 years older than I am. To go to, say, a freshman in high school, and point to a 24-year-old man and say “That is your future husband” would be pretty crazy. Today, we are, for all intents and purposes, the same age. But when 12-year-old me was getting her first kiss, 22-year-old Jeff was at a slightly different stage in his relationships.

3. I will drive anywhere. I got my license when I was 19 years old. No, I never failed a driver’s test, but I was petrified to get behind the wheel. Dreams I had when I was 3 that featured my dad putting me in a car, slamming the door and pushing the car down a hill into a lake freaked me the fuck out. (My dad is not abusive. My dad is a wonderful man. I am a total daddy’s girl. Don’t think these dreams meant anything. The only thing they mean is my active imagination started early.)

In Ohio, where I grew up, driver’s ed is a separate class to sign up for outside of high school. In Illinois, where I was born, it was part of the high school curriculum. I never signed up for the Oho classes. Which means, I never took driver’s ed. Not a class. My mom was too scared to teach me to drive, and I didn’t drive too many places with my dad, so I learned to drive as a teenager by my other teenage friends. (Pretty sure that’s wildly illegal.) I first got comfy behind a car on Erin’s mom’s mini van or Charlie’s sedan or John’s beat-up jalopy.

Road trip! (Sigh. Isn’t it delightful?)

I passed my test on the first try and have never been in an accident. I just wasn’t ready to drive when I was 16. Now, I love road trips. I enjoy driving. I enjoy the scenery and getting lost in thought. Two Must Take trips in my head are a road trip out west and Jaclyn’s East Coast Extravaganza, which requires flying to Maine, renting a car and taking a week to drive to Florida, stopping at all the cool stops.

4. I don’t go to church. Yes, I believe in God but, without getting too preachy or religious on the blog, I don’t think it is associated with any denomination or faith. Meanwhile, in high school, I was, like, THE Catholic youth group girl. I went on all the retreats, the trips, the overnighters. I never went to church (even as a teen, I thought going to church when you didn’t want to was terrible — it should be for people who want to be there), but I got all the religion I needed for my soul at those weekly hour-long meetings. They were wonderful. Enough things have happened through the years that my view of God has changed dramatically. I feel I have a more mature understanding of things, rather than the blind faith I so worked at as a teenager.

What would teenage you think about the adult you’ve become? Are you very much that same girl (or boy, do boys read curious Jac?)? Or are there facets of yourself that are wildly different from what you imagined in high school?

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