Then and Now

Updated: Jun 1, 2019



I took this excerpt from my journal from back when I was in high school, getting ready to leave for college. It really caused me to think and look at the difference time can make in your life. Even though I wrote it a while back, I thought I'd share it with you now. Enjoy!


Dec. 5, 2013

Dad knocked on my door. “Can we come in? I want to talk about our trip to America.”Dad and Ben walked in, and Dad started asking us when our finals end and what the earliest we could leave Hungary was.“We’ll make July 1st the target date,” he said, then he and Ben started discussing whether we needed to buy a car or not.

All the while, I felt like I was sinking down further and further into myself. Seven months was not a long time at all. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to start a new life. I didn’t want to think. Their voices washed over me, and all I wanted to do was hide.

“…So what you’re saying is that you could survive without one.” I finally heard what Dad was saying.

“I think we’d be okay without a car,” I managed to say.

“Okay, we’ll keep all this in mind,” Dad said standing up.

Ben stayed in my room after Dad had left.

“I don’t want to leave Hungary,” he said, looking at me with sad eyes.

I just shook my head, trying to hold the tears back. He finally got up and left. I couldn’t stop a tear from running down my face. I needed my best friend.

I pulled out my phone. She had been having a bad day, and the last thing she’d written was, “You have an almost perfect life. Be grateful.”

That’s when I actually started crying. I curled up in my bed, buried my head in my pillow, and let myself go. Nobody could understand. Even my best friend thought my life was perfect. She would scoff at me if I told her I didn’t want to go to America and pursue my dreams. No one understood how scared I was. I didn’t want my life to change. It felt like my whole world was falling apart. Nothing would be the same after I got on that plane. I couldn’t share this with anyone. For the first time I felt sorry that I didn’t have someone I could pour out my heart to.I didn’t know what to do. I stood up and walked to the mirror on my wall. The sight made me cry even harder. My face was red and blotchy, my makeup was smudged all over my face, and my eyes were bloodshot. I had to pull it together; I couldn’t leave my room looking like that. I washed my face, grabbed my headphones, and turned the music up loud while I started my normal exercise routine. “Lord, help me,” I prayed. When I was done, I felt five times better, and after touching up my makeup I looked almost normal.

As I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I knew I could survive this transition without anyone’s help. Any one person’s, I mean. God would help me through, and I would be okay. Everything would be okay.


As I go back and look at my journal entries from December 5, 2014 and December 5, 2015, I realize how much my life has changed over the years. Not just my life, but I as a person. In 2014, I wrote about my funny kids at my day care job and how much fun I had on a Christmas scavenger hunt with my new friends. In 2015, I watched three and a half hours of Ann of Green Gables with my grumbling boyfriend at our library job (because his mom wanted him to see it), and had a hot chocolate-and-candy-cane movie night with old and new friends. The contrast is pretty funny actually.

Looking back, it’s easy for me to think that the old Nancy was super naïve and scared of everything. I see my life now and how great it was that I had to leave my home and live in a new place. But at the time, I didn’t see where I’d be in the future. I didn’t know that life would work out and I’d have everything that I needed. I was scared of change because I thought my life was great then and it would suck when I had to go somewhere new and start over. To be sure, there were moments that sucked and I wished I was home. But would I go back now if I could? No.

Everything seems so scary before you step out and do it. A new place is frightening. New people are scary. You never know what to expect in a new situation. But you can’t let fear hold you back. That fear will cripple you and keep you from doing great things. I always like to be in control of things and know I’m in charge of a situation. But in these past years I’ve learned that I can’t control everything, and if I was to wait to do things only when I was 100% sure of myself, I would be sitting around until I was 80.

Back in 2013 I was petrified. I didn’t want to leave my family, friends, and environment I’d grown up in. But it has really been one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve grown so much and have learned so many life lessons that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t left. Yes, it was hard, but what isn’t? And it was so, so worth it.

© 2020 by Nancy E Wood