Did you know that the talented and lovely Tiffany from Mom-Nom and I went to college together? We did, and we had the same major. Heck, we even had an internship for the same organization, where she now works.
At any rate, she recently had me in tears over her "Letter to Myself" post inspired by Raising Madison. I will dub you a miracle worker if you can prevent yourself from crying over these things, they are just that powerful. It's a beautiful idea, and I'm jumping on board. Here goes:
Dear 7 year-old Emily,
Enjoy your youth and the complete ignorance about your body and your looks that it brings. Play outside until your mom screams your middle and last name for you to come inside. Don't be afraid to cry when you scrape your knee. Remember, life isn't all about always being in the spotlight and the middle of every conversation. Your teacher will say that you need to learn how to "mind your own business," but someday you'll have a job that welcomes your nosiness. Don't let others tell you not to be yourself. Your little brother is about to arrive and you'll think he's stealing the spotlight from you, too. He's not; it's time to learn how to let it go. Learn it now, because you're going to need it later.
Dear 13 year-old Emily,
Things are about to get awkward and likewise, awful. You aren't going to have a chest, straight teeth or clear skin for a long, long time. Your skinny, lanky body is always going to be skinny, lanky and uncoordinated. Some things change, dear Emily, but this won't ever change. It's OK. Don't try so hard to fit in. Life isn't about being the prettiest or the most popular, it's about accepting who you are--whoever that happens to be. Those words? The ones that hurt so much? They are just words; don't ever forget that. Facing life's harshest critics, as painful as it may be now, will form you into someone strong someday. Someone with sharp wit and a fierce tongue that has good comebacks. This too shall pass.
Dear 15 year-old Emily,
You're entering a tough place; a place where you don't know anyone and you're a small fish in a large, public school pond. You will be scared. You will be tested. But in the end, you'll be OK. You are about to discover that writing is your talent, a gift that will take you further than you can ever imagine. You will struggle to find something to do with your thick, curly, insane hair. You will fail miserably and have weird bangs crusted with hairspray for years. Don't worry. You will destroy the photographic evidence later, I promise. You will have braces for 3 years, and it will be painful. Literally. You'll thank your orthodontist later. You will discover boys and have your heart broken. You will cry when your high school boyfriend breaks up with you before college and says it's because you're too good for him. He's right; you should be happy that he let you go. The perfect man is out there waiting for you.
Dear 18 year-old Emily,
SLOW. DOWN. Seriously, slow down. You've never had a drink before, I get it. But for the love of all things holy, at least try to learn your limits. Study harder. Party JUST a little less; you'll thank me later. This will be the most memorable and wonderful four years of your life. You will meet life-long friends. You'll make mistakes and you'll fall down (literally, but the desk underneath your bunk bed will be there to catch you) but let it teach you. Let it prepare you for what's about to happen: you will realize that your mom did know what she was talking about and she really was right. She was all along. I hope you're ready for what else is coming at you: you're about to meet your husband. He will catch your eye at a party and you'll make fun of him incessently. He'll hate you for it and think you're a miserable human being until you catch his eye and smile at him. The rest, as they say, will be history.
Dear 20 year-old Emily,
Are you deaf? I was serious about the slowing down thing. You're going to make some major mistakes, but someday you'll look back and laugh at this stage of your life. Soak in these years, they will be gone before you realize. Embrace all that life has to offer instead of focusing on how awful it is that you don't own your own car. In the big picture, it's not a big deal. Your future husband will tell you that you should "see other people" when he moves away for a job. Your heart will scream no, but your head will nod in agreement because it makes sense. In the end you'll be right where you are meant to be: together. Let this moment teach you an important lesson in something you've never had: patience.
Dear 23 year-old Emily,
Hang on tight, because life is about to take you for a ride. You're going to get engaged, and everything in your life is about to change. You will move from the only place you've ever known, to get married and take a new job. It will feel like you're living on another planet and some days, your anxiety about the changes will get the best of you. Take a deep breath and know that it will be OK. It won't be easy, but it will be OK. You're about to be tested, deep down to the core of your soul, and you need to ready your heart for battle. Don't forget about what life has taught you so far, you're going to need it soon. Don't forget to take the time to dream.
Dear 26 year-old Emily,
You don't know it yet, but life is about to deal you a painful blow. It will cut you deeply, devastate and crush you, but I promise you this: it will not destroy you. In fact, it will make you stronger. You see, my dearest Emily, you are about to have a dream taken from you. It will bring you to your knees. It will feel like nothing makes sense anymore. You will be angry, but you have to learn to let it go. Cling tightly to your faith and know this: what is meant to be will always find a way. You won't see it now, but losing this part of your life will make the other parts better. Hold strong; I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.
Dear 45 year-old Emily,
Mind hopping in a time machine to 2010 and telling me how it all turns out?