The good ole’ days. It means something different to everyone. Whether it’s high school (which let’s get real, high school is terrible for most of us), college (not like I would know), your 20s, when you get married and have kids or even when you retire after a successful career. What makes these days so good are the memories we make and the experiences we have, places we go and people we meet. But for some of us (aka me), we believe that the best days are still ahead of us. We believe that there are more places to go and people to meet. We believe that the more experiences we have leads to a richer, more enhanced and fulfilling life. And as I write this, I am three months away from turning 20. It will be the end of my teenage years and the start of a new decade of my life. Within the next few months, I will move away from home for the first time and really be exposed to the world. This post isn’t going to be a reflection of the relatively safe life I’ve led so far but rather an open letter to the woman I will become throughout the next 10 years of my life.
Dear Future Me,
As I’m writing this I’m sitting at my kitchen counter with Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls playing on The Script radio on Pandora. There is snow outside and I’m wearing my favorite sweater. You know the one. The one with the holes in it because you’ve worn it so much. I’m writing this to you, as I turn 20 in a few months and move away from home. I hope when you read this that you’ve lived a blessed life. You know, the kind they write novels about and make movies about and sing songs about. I hope when you look back at your 20s, that you weren’t scared. That you weren’t scared to start your life and see what the world has to offer you.
I hope you take chances. You know, the kind that your friends and family will think you’re crazy for but yet you do it anyways for no other reason than the fact that it feels right. Even if those chances don’t work out, I hope you learn from them and become stronger and wiser because of them. You will never grow as a person if you never learn to risk it all.
I hope you travel the world. Throw yourself into a culture you could only ever read about. There is so much more to the world than small town USA. Go to the pyramids in Egypt and walk the Great Wall of China. Visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Big Ben in London and eat in Italy. Go on a safari in Africa and marvel at the majestic animals God created. See the Sydney Opera House (which you have dreamed about ever since you were a little girl) and go to Germany. Go to every single country and place you can while you’re young and able. Do the tourist thing but also don’t be afraid to go off and explore by yourself, as long as you’re safe.
Fall in love. I hope you meet someone who makes you question why you ever thought you would be better off alone. You may get your heart broken and I can promise you, you will break a few hearts of your own. But don’t be afraid. Don’t let one cruel person or moment turn you hard. This world is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people and it would be a shame to see you end up exactly where you said you never would be. I hope you meet him. You know, the one who is a game changer to you. Who challenges and pushes you, who believes in you and your never ending dreams and fills you with love in ways you never thought possible. But on that note, don’t go looking for love. Live your life and love will find you when you least expect it. The best things in life aren’t the things we find, but the things that find us.
I hope that you don’t settle. I hope you keep going and fighting for what you want. But I also hope that when something good comes into your life that you hold onto it tight. Hold onto it tight like that sweater you always used to wear. There will always be something better but the true mark of maturity is knowing that and still being with that person, even if you fight and disagree, because you know that there is no one else like him and if you let go because you’re afraid to settle, you’ll let go of one the best things in your life. When you know, you know and I promise you, you will know without a doubt in mind, when you’re ready.
I hope you accomplish the dream you’ve been dreaming of. You know the one I’m talking about, the one that you won’t tell anyone because you’re afraid they’ll judge you or won’t understand or will think you’re crazy and that it will never be happen. So you’re a silent fighter. You hold your dreams and fears close to your heart all because of that one big fear of failure. But failure is a figment of your imagination. You can never fail if you try your best and give it your all and if it doesn’t work out, you learn from it. You see, you can only fail if you let the bad experiences keep you from trying again. If you refuse to learn from it and grow, then yes that is failure. But it’s voluntary. Be positive, think positive, live positive, and you can never fail.
I hope that as this letter finds you that you’ve lived the life you always wanted. But I also hope you know that it’s okay to go off script. Don’t get so caught up with the fantasy of the life you want to live that you miss the life right in front of you. Maybe you’re married with kids or maybe you’re not but that’s okay (even if all your siblings are already married). After all you’re the one who told your family that you’d be the last one but chances are you jinxed yourself and you’ll be first. I hope that you’ve learned to follow your instincts better and not to worry as much. What will be, will be. I hope that you see yourself as I see you. A beautiful person who can change the world with your words. Yes that dream you’ve dreamed for so long, I hope you accomplish it. I hope you understand better now that some of the people you thought would always be there for you will leave. But let them go. Let them go like the trees let go of the leaves in fall and maybe they’ll come back to you one day like the leaves grow back on the trees in the spring. But know that it’s okay if they don’t. It’s okay to move on and it’s okay to think about them every once in a while. I hope you realize, now more than ever, that everything happens for a reason and you will end up exactly where you’re supposed to be with the person you’re supposed to be with. You’re a little person. You’re just a little person with dreams bigger than her but I hope with all my heart and soul that you accomplish everything you were put on this Earth for.
Your Younger Self