Dear Me, 20 Years from Now,
I’m at the close of my 40th year, taking on a writing project that’s pushed me to reflect and expand on memories, values, and personality quirks. I wrote to my past self, from 20 years ago, and it occurs to me that the best way I can wrap up this project is to write to my future self when I’ve eclipsed another 20 years from now. At that point, I’ll be 60, and even though I love me words and stories, I’ve still got a soft spot for numbers and symmetry, so here it goes…
1) I can’t wait to see the way you embody your self and your age. Making it through the 30s has brought freedom and exploration with clothing and hair, but I can only imagine that this journey will continue and that you will have officially reached your No Effs Left to Give stage, wearing and rocking whatever you want. I’ll also put in my vote now for long gray hair. Don’t succumb to the belief that as you get older your hair must get shorter or that you have to keep coloring it (unless you want to, and then you do you, Sis). You’ve always been one to play and experiment with your hair, and while it may not be the case right at 60, I sincerely hope that by now you’ve gone through the Blue Hair phase that we’ve been wanting for so long.
2) Speaking of bodies….I hope you are friends with yours. It’s been a long and winding road, and a shit ton of work, to get where we are at 40 – may another 20 years of practicing and accepting bring you closer and closer to loving your body and all that it provides. May you still be a walking, yoga-doing, kitchen dance partying badass, and may your movements be from joy, not punishment. And may you forgive your body and give it grace when it needs rest and forces you to slow down; that’s never been our strong suit, but we’re in this for the long-haul (and another letter written at 60 to our 80yo self), so do what you must for longevity as well as enjoyment in your (our) body.
3) Your babies are now grown. There’s no telling at this point of writing where any of them will land or what they will do, but I hope that in the midst of all the transition and launching of children out into the world, you continue to find what anchors you. What takes up your brain space now that you don’t have to catalog where everyone’s clothes, instruments, or practice schedules are? Are you reading a lot? Going on long walks? Traveling? As a child you thought you had to know exactly what you’d do career-wise for the rest of your life. As a 40yo, you know that’s not true at all and find that you still feel like a kid who is just winging it most days. Where are you at 60? I’m guessing that while your body may disagree on some days, you still feel like the world is full of possibility and you’re still just making it up as you go. May that be a joy unto itself.
4) Speaking of possibility…have you done it yet? Did you write that book or that series that you absolutely could not get to stop bumping around your brain at 40? Looking at it from this side of the next 20 years, it still feels impossible, but goodness, I hope that from your side you’re beaming with pride at all that you’ve managed to learn and create through the written word. Because standing here, that thought absolutely will not go away, so tell me, Babe – how did that flourish and come to fruition in real life?
5) And speaking of yets, hopes, and dreams…are you back to living in the country now? For as much as you love this current house and all the work you and B put into it, not to mention the benefits of living in town, I know your heart longs for a life with no neighbors (and their dogs, leaf blowers, and loud mufflers) and complete access to your favorite element of nature – the wide open prairie sky. It’s been a part of you forever, so are you closer to it yet? Here’s hoping that you’ve been able to carve out somewhere in the quiet of the ever-changing ocean of clouds and sunshine (and that the wind doesn’t drive you too insane).
What an adventure we have had so far and who can tell where it will go from here by the time I catch up to you then. I can’t wait to do it all with you.
*Post 52/52!!! That’s it – challenge complete!