Sunday, April 13, 2008

In my own words

Anyone heard that song floating around lately where the artist writes a letter to himself at age 17 to reassure him that his future self turned out alright?
Even if not, you might enjoy this post.

You see, I did it backwards. I wrote a letter to my future self on October 29, 1994. I was 19 years old, writing to the person I would be at 34. I sealed it and wrote on the envelope not to open until June 11th, 2009. Well, even though I was supposed to wait another whole year, I opened and read it the other day.
I wrote about what I hoped to have in my life, my dreams and aspirations, what consumed my mind at the time.

So, here is an excerpt:

I don't know what kind of person you have evolved into. I can only say what I, the 19 year old Heather hope to have in my future. Hopefully you have your ultimate dream of children, but I hope you didn't forsake your other dreams for immediate fulfillment. As a 19 year old you were confused. There were so many choices, so many different ways to start your life, you were so scared to take a wrong step as the first one. You knew, at 19, that ultimately your dream was to help people, but you couldn't figure out how to make that happen.
Maybe now, in 2009, you have achieved what your soul had planned for you. Hopefully you have awakened to the belief that you can create your own life exactly the way you want it to be, regardless of outside beliefs and pressures. Hopefully you are your own unique person, allowing no pressures from others to sway your beliefs and knowings. Do you have your ultimate fulfillment yet? The one I search for now, in 1994? Is the world still the same in 2009? Are there still wars--both outside between countries and inside each person on the planet? Who did you marry? How many beautiful children do you have?

I sat there with this letter for some time. I was thinking back on who I was then and how the world seemed to me from that young perspective. I can picture myself sitting at my desk in my room, gazing out the window as I wrote this letter. I know that at the time, I was a manager of a small children's boutique in the mall and really enjoyed my job, but was starting to desire something more. My heart was yearning for a direction for which there were no signs pointing the way. I was entertaining the thought of going to school, or maybe had already begun the first semester of college--hence the confusion. I know that I was dating, but nothing serious. I remember wanting a child so badly that it consumed my thoughts almost on a daily basis. I would wander through the children's sections of department stores, go to the baby store and run my hands over the soft blankets and sleepers. (Once I even purchased a tiny blue sleeper that I kept tucked away until I had my first son)

Sitting here now, almost 33 years old, I wonder if I robbed myself of those carefree years by trying to grow up too fast. I hear people talk about their twenties and how it is a time for mistakes, playing, and just simply time for self-discovery. Throughout my adolescence I was very unsure of myself, as most of us are during those worrisome years. So many changes, so much to think about.

In retrospect, I guess I was a typical 19 year old wrestling with the huge questions and decisions that seem to never have any real answers.

If I were to write back to myself though, I would have to say that I am reaching my goals, though not necessarily in the order I may have had planned for myself 15 years ago.
I would be pleased to know that I now have 4 children; I know that back then, knowing that I would have children someday would have been a great source of comfort. But, in some ways, I think I did forsake other dreams to have my children and perhaps the timing wasn't the greatest. I mean, I didn't want to be a single parent and to have to struggle to give my children a good life. I brought these children into the world for instant gratification in some ways, because I just couldn't wait any longer and once that train left the station it was gone for good. Thee is no going back once you have become a mother and some choices are now along a different set of tracks, out of reach.
I would tell myself to play a while longer. To focus on myself and to not be afraid that I would take a wrong step. To not be so careful for it is in the times of personal release that we learn about ourselves. To just live one day at a time and not place so much worry on the future at such a tender age. I would reassure myself that things would work out, that the path for my life would reveal itself in due time.

" There is no prescribed way for everyone; there is just your way for NOW, until you choose another".


Family Adventure said...

I think you showed amazing foresight AND insight as a 19 year old.

I certainly didn't think to write to my 34 yr old at that age, and I don't know that I was consciously thinking about where or what I'd be 15 years hence.

To know as a 19 year old what you wish to do with your life - and to have been right - is rare, I think. Most are still muddling through, trying to figure out who they are and where they belong.

I'm glad you can say you are working towards your goals. Even if in a slightly different order than anticipated. :)


Amy Y said...

That was really neat to read, Mama! You were such a smart girl, even at only 19!! Thanks for sharing that :)

Kellan said...

This is so fascinating to me that you had the forsight to write to yourself - so interesting. I think you were a typical 19 year old and had the typical worries and yet you were so smart. You have done well and are doing very well. This was so cool!

Take care and nice to see you - Kellan

Motherhood for Dummies said...

that is amazing...maybe I will write myself a letter too. And 20 somethings as a time to be carefree...thank goodness you didn't feel that way. That is what being a kid for. 20 something is a time to find your self and start your real life...which you did and seems to be a great one! Who wants to run around and make mistakes at 25. Seems you have a great life :)

niobe said...

This is a lovely, thoughtful post. I am amazed both by the 19-year-old you were and by the person you have become.

painted maypole said...

very interesting. life does show us the way, doesn't it, even if we have taken a few missteps, and plunged to soon or waited to long.

i think your 19 year old self would be proud of who you are now.

Christine said...

oh, it is so amazing that you wrote that letter to yourself and that now you can read it so clearly and with such insight.