Sunday, March 29, 2009

Letter #6

Dear M,
My mind has been spinning in a million directions lately, and I really appreciate you bearing with me. I know it is sometimes a struggle to see things from my perspective, but you continue to try, and I love you for that. I am the way I am because of the life that I've lived and everything that I've been through. In my heart, I know I am a better person for it. One thing I've learned is that communication is EVERYTHING. So, I wanted to share with you how I'm feeling with my birthday coming up and everything that has been on my mind...

Twenty-three used to be "IT" for me. When I was young I used to dream about 23 as that critical "turning point" age. My parents were married when they were 23 and had me shortly after. When I was young, I didn't realize just how much one generation can change so much. "Ring by 23." What was I thinking? Actually, scratch that question. I know what I was thinking. I was a fourteen-year-old child who had fun planning out her life and picturing that big shiny ring with "diamonds that go all the way around." I can smile when I think about it because it makes me realize how much I've grown since then. Don't get me wrong, I am, and will forever be an old-fashioned girl when it comes to the big life/family stuff. And I am absolutely looking forward to someday being a wife and a mother. But it is relieving to know that there are no set timelines in life and that the dreams of my 14-year-old self will not fade if postponed a few years.

What's interesting to me when I think about all of this, is that in my "life plan," I never really knew that the place that I am at in life exsisted. In my all-knowing teenage brain, life consisted of high school, graduation, college, graduation, marriage, family, and the happily ever after. And for some people, that may truly work. But what I didn't know was that there is somewhere between graduation and the happily ever after for ME time. The here and now, what I'm living day to day... Trust me, it took a lot of troubleshooting to figure out how important this is. I have a few amazing people in my life who helped me along the way to realize that I have control over the direction of my life and my happiness... and that includes you. You are one of the most easy-going, understanding and caring people I know, and I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

I know I get worried about us and the future sometimes, and you remind me that everything will be okay. And everything will work out the way it's supposed to. That is what I didn't know when I was younger. I thought I needed a plan because I thought that's how life worked. I thought you planned it out, and then it happened. This is a life lesson that I am grateful to have learned by the age of 23. Things don't always work out according to "plan." In fact, the best things really do happen when you least expect it. Not everything is chance, no. We are in control of our own lives, but we also have to take it as it comes and know that everything will work out if we believe it will. I'm not sure if everything happens for a reason... some people believe whole-heartedly that it does. Regardless, I have to be okay with the fact that I'm not going to have all the answers. But I am going to continue down this road that I'm on with faith in the fact that right now, I am exactly I'm supposed to be... and that is happily and very much in love with you. Everything else.. in time, will follow.

Love, K (23, female, Boston, MA)

I love this letter. I think it's incredibly necessary that attention is drawn to the subject matter here. "K" is discussing how she discovered that women actually have time for a life. We have time to establish ourselves as individuals, to climb the social and economic latter. We no longer have to pair off after college. We can follow our dreams, travel the world, get our Masters; our twenties are no longer dedicated to marriage and family as it was in for passed generations.

Also, like "K", I have always felt like I needed to have a big plan; a checklist I can carry with me throughout my life. Mine is a bit different than "K"'s though, more career oriented. Even so, our twenties are a time of exploration. They are the years that women fought for in our passed generations. It would almost seem like a waste to marry before 26 (I learned that couples who marry between 26 and 28 have the best chance of staying together).

I can see how this personal conflict "K" went through was intense. Realizing that the life you believed in as a child is actually a cloudy version of reality is hard; but our lives are long, and we have time to let it play out and let the chips fall where they may.

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