years ago on top of Old Rag Mtn., VA
Dear 20 year oldme..
Who you are at 20 is insignificant as what you are at 42.
Remember the vow you made yourself? Congratulations. You are a better parent than yours. However, no matter what nature your relationship was with your parents you will miss them when they are gone.
You have two sons that will forever changed your path. They are the shiniest souls you will ever know. Your 12 year old always picks wild flowers for you and your oldest son will pull you out on days where you feel exasperated and merely exist. He will sit in silence with you until you feel ‘normal’; with them, you will never be lonely.
Like Beethoven’s quartet, the musical score of your life remains unfinished. You never really got to ‘live’ in your teens neither in your 20s. You were always told “No!” growing up. You got your wings late in life. I’m sorry. I assure you, you are going to make up on your missed play days. You will run, climb and sign up for obstacle races. When you finish in exhilaration, you will laugh like the little girl that once was spinning under the Acacia tree. Literally, life begins at 40.
Telephone landlines are popular in your 20s, Two phone calls would matter to you. One is from a girl named Kathy. She will become your best friend. the other is long distance ship-to-shore from Tahiti. Speaking of best friend, you didn’t have the courage to tell Kath-bug ‘he’ wasn’t right for her. You are more assertive at 40ish and in a weekend get away, after consuming some wines…like a scene in a chick flick, you say “He’s a Jackass and he never deserved you!” Hindsight is 50/50 but at 20 it’s easy to be mislead. The phone call from Tahiti? That’s your pseudo-boyfriend who left you at 20 to find himself on a surf safari. He comes back full circle to become the coolest dad. He is your co-adventurer IN LIFE. He’ really loves you so don’t wake him up at 4 a.m. and discuss ‘us’
The desire to be more scholarly grows stronger every year in par with having propensity of eating your favorite dessert entirely in one sitting. In fact, if you knew about social media at 20, you would’ve avoided eating carbs entirely. Being ‘tagged’ in a photo is unnerving. So WHAT, you may have a few pounds still, you look 30 at 41. Don’t worry of how others perceive you if they are your true friends they will make you feel indispensable not disposable. Trying to fit in is time wasted at any age.
Hard work drives success not passion – anything less just won’t shine, it’s almost a guarantee. Be proud of what you do! If you stick to the mantra of ‘do what you love’ you wouldn’t have any idea what that is. Purpose is elusive not mysterious but sometimes it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had purpose so make it count. Nothing wrong with being pragmatic and having a steady paycheck. In 2007, the economy will tank and stay stagnant for a good while. You will go to work Mondays to Fridays while some of your friends will be laid off.
Cultivate your inner voice. As you get older, you will miss your family particularly your sister thoughts of living on the West Coast will bemuse you. Leap of faith?!
Lastly, be kind for kindness in giving creates love.
From your 42 year old self.
bouldering at Horsepens 40 in Steele, AL