"THIS IS NOT A LETTER BUT MY ARMS AROUND YOU FOR A BRIEF MOMENT"
~ Katherine Mansfield (New Zealander Writer, 1888-1923)
There is a project called "letter to my twenty year old self." It was started a few years ago by Cassie Boorn.
I wrote one to myself for my 40th birthday. Before I went to Vegas I left it at Dixon House in case my plane went down. If so, I wanted David to have it. Chrissy knew of it and had instructions as to what to do if anything happened. After my plane landed safely, I planned on going back and getting it but I didn't and decided to let David know its hidden location. I don't know if he ever read it or not.
Early January was national letter week and I wanted to talk about this then but forgot. At the time I originally wrote it, I was hesistant to publish it on her site but I always felt like it was "unfinished" because I didn't - so I recently sent it to Cassie to add to her site on her next update. My word for this year is truth so I think I need to be truthful and not "worry" if someone thinks I'm stupid or I'll be embarrassed or whatever by what I say. With today being Groundhog's Day (think spring!) I thought I would post this now and just let it go. I've felt a little like my life was like groundhog's day - repeating the same thing over and over. I think I'll talk a little more about that later...
You can read more letters from other people by clicking on the "20 something letters" link on her website - and if you want...go ahead and write your own.
Hi, Twenty-Year-Old Jeannine!
Just a few days ago you were with the one you would marry a little over 8 years later. I'm sure you'll remember the music that played and that little dorm bed for the rest of your life. I know the "numbers" surrounding that day will be etched in your memory forever.
I started this about him because he was the love of your life and you should have shown it a little more. I'm wondering if you said "I don't know" a little too much because by the time you figured out what you DID know - it was too late.
Some day in the future you'll be able to get your wedding ring to fit back on your finger just as his is coming off. There will be a morning that you watch tail lights get further away from the driveway... that same night you'll be alone - surrounded by your dreams - some realized, some shattered and some unfinished.
I want to tell you a little about what happens before that, though...
You'll walk down a path one day in the happiest place on Earth and take pictures of a brick and go on to plan a day that people STILL talk about.
You'll live in a white house you called "Dixon House." It was warm and inviting and then became cold and lonely. You'll miss that house one day and I think you'll forever search for a white house because of it.
You'll go on a bunch of trips and eat licorice and pretzels in the car in order to stay awake and you'll stop at places on the side of the road a lot. It will take you way longer than it should to get somewhere so just plan accordingly. You won't want it any other way.
You'll be the one that everyone comes to with questions or problems or in search of the perfect gift idea.
You'll have wacky themes for Christmas dinner and you'll start planning for the next one while washing dishes and drinking coffee Christmas night.
You have a need to document and photograph everything you do. Continue to do that. Memories will mean more than you know.
When you get older, you'll still have a love of pigs and eat dry cheerios and will continue to bring your childhood teddy bear on vacation with you.
Your cast recording of Rent will be listened to repeatedly.
You'll try to have kids - try harder! You're determined in a lot of things but you'll need some help with this one... more than you think. Waiting around and "hoping" something will work out will leave you with NOTHING. That will be one of your few regrets.
You WILL eventually get those two pink lines (a few times) only for them to disapear shortly after. You'll fill little boxes with memories and trinkets to remember and honor those babies and you'll be sad because you'll know that you would have been a good mother... and wonder why you weren't given the chance.
Twenty years down the road you'll realize "what could have been" is in the past and you'll be completely ok with it. You'll know exactly what you want - unfortunately the one you want to be at your side to travel along with you won't be there. See above.
There will be a lot of "bad" things that will happen - more than most people experience... Your mom won't be around to help you pick out your wedding dress, you'll have an extended vacation out of state for thirty+ days, you'll wish you never went on that hike... You'll end up ok, though. You always do.
You'll want to get into those vintage Levi cutoff shorts again that you and Leslie bought at that place below Shoe Fly... You'll be able to and then you won't but I think you will again...
Twenty years from now you won't look 40... which will be good and bad. The mirror will deceive you. You'll think you have all the time in the world but you don't. The days go by faster and faster as you get older. Remember that.
You'll have big plans but you won't have much initiative to do anything with them... That's a small regret but it's a work in progress. You'll get there. Better late than never, I guess.
You are good at a lot of things. Pick one and go with it. You're passions will trap you in quicksand later in life but you can get out - you have no choice.
You are attached to your possessions a little too much but that's ok. It's only because you care. You are not as selfish and spoiled as you are made out to be. If anyone tells you you're not compassionate enough know that that is not true. You just weren't compassionate with the one that mattered most. Ask for and be willing to accept that same compassion in return. YOU should have gotten more as well.
You think big yet you're small.
You're hopeful yet you're realistic.
You want the best for everyone yet you can come across as a little bitch.
You can get frustrated quickly but, as the years go by, you're not bothered so much about stupid things any more.
Save some aggravation and come to the realization that Aunt Gloria is old and is NOT going to get a hearing aid so just speak up.
Stop shaking your head and rolling your eyes - you look like your Dad when you do it.
You'll learn to say no and not care what people think. It's ok to tell people that you're upset and need help. You don't have to be strong for everyone else.
If someone asks you to open up a puzzle parlor that serves coffee and meatball sandwiches and sells dog collars - consider it. It may not be a bad idea.
Don't be consumed in getting things done. After all that worrying you'll one day realize the biggest thing that happens when you write all those things down on a piece of paper is that you use a lot of ink.
All things considered you were happier more than you were sad. Things just got a little foggy somewhere down the road and truth will be found when it clears.
Continue to speak up and be who you are. Words have meaning and should be valued. Being heard will be what you want. Keep talking... someone is listening.
I don't have great advice for you - My wish is simple. I want you to make time to watch those old movies you wanted to together, have date night, play more games and go on more day trips. There's a lot to do out there. One day you'll wish you did all those things - for no one but yourself.
So, grab a blanket, cuddle up on the couch and plan your next adventure.
And give your puppy a kiss.
Lots of Love,