If could reach back through time and have a heart-to-heart with your twentysomething self, what would you say to her?
She’s in her twenties, that glorified period of life when she’s supposed to be discovering herself, deep in exploration, living her most defining decade. And yet.....she may feel like the exact opposite. Or exactly that. Or somewhere in between. She probably doesn't even know.
Maybe you pour her a cup of tea, look into her eyes, wrap her in a hug.
What do you tell her?
Today's letter comes from Korie Kritzky, a sweet friend of mine from Connecticut. Korie and I met a few years ago -- I was her daughter's daycare teacher for years on end :) I fell in love with them both -- the whole family, really -- and it became so nice seeing a kind face in the mornings (when there were usually at least five other two-year-olds running about us at 8am, screaming). I'm so glad Korie decided to write a letter -- this one brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Korie:
What I’d love to say to my twenty-something self:
I turned 40 this year. Doesn’t that sound old? For that reason, I simply avoid saying it out loud. Glancing back at the journey, so much transpired in those 40 years which has channeled me to this point in life. Is it where I am supposed to be? Who I’m supposed to be? I’m not sure. But it is my life and I cherish every minute because it is mine. The proud moments and the regrets, I own it all. Hindsight however, is always haunting. If I could have a few minutes to chat with my younger self, I would have a talk with the 22-year old Korie, who just graduated college and is overly eager to make her future aspirations a reality.
You did it! A hard-earned, well-deserved engineering degree! You already know what is next because you start your career in less than a week. A real job: full time with good benefits. Congratulations! I know that is what you have wanted for so long. School and childhood were just obstacles to starting your real life. Right? You’ve always been praised for your grades, your wisdom and your ambition. I know you feel that you must be on the right track and just can’t wait to jump into the world, putting all the tedium of childhood behind you.
The truth is, you already have a full life. It always has been there. You don’t necessarily need the salary, the new car, the house and the husband right away to be somebody. All that stuff will come in time. No need to rush. You have many years to work long hours and make mortgage payments. Your childhood is more than a stepping stone from which to launch into life. Don’t run away from it. You have strong roots with the parents who have loved and raised you, the friends who have laughed and cried with you, the teachers who have mentored you and the pets that have adored you. More wonderful people will come and go over the years ahead. What you can’t see and don’t know right now is that those people will eventually fade from your life and some will disappear forever.
While you’re building your career and establishing your idea of life, your father has cancer which is spreading. Your best friend will soon also have a busy life of her own. Once close relationships will be reduced to a yearly Christmas card exchange. That is real life. To quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”. Take the time to enjoy the people and places. Hold onto as many pieces of yourself as you can. Keeping your past as a part of your present will take some effort, but I know you can do it. Redirect some of that ambition.
Someday you will look into the bright, blue eyes of your daughter and see the reflection of your father. You will watch her radiate the spirited nature of your mother. Two important people your daughter will never know and it will be your job to bring them to life with your memories. Don’t stop making those memories while the opportunity still exists. Visit your parents on the weekends instead of going to the mall. Cook dinner for them. Take the old, loyal dog for a long walk. Instead of dismissing the boring, small town, see the beautiful country that used to be your home for so many years before it gets developed into new houses and businesses. The vast fields and forests you spent so many hours playing in as a child. Your daughter is going to love those stories.
Korie Kritzky resides in Stafford Springs, CT with her husband, daughter and two rescued dogs. She grew up in rural Northeastern Vermont and has moved around quite a bit in her adult years; having lived in various parts of Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey before eventually settling in Connecticut. Korie has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She currently works as a Construction Project Manager for a large retail company.
Read past posts in the series here.
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