An open letter: Dear me at 23

1933772_505565146516_1849_nBy Julie

Happy Birthday from me (you) in 10 years! I know you’re in the midst of a four country, five airport journey back from Albania and you’ve got some serious plans ahead of you and things to do, but just stick with me for a couple minutes.

You don’t know this yet, but your life is about to change in a huge way. Don’t freak out, but this is the last birthday you are going to spend as a single person. In just a few short months you are going to meet the most amazing man. His name is Travis and you will quickly realize that he is going to be one of your best friends and that you’ll want him to be in your life forever.

I know what you’re thinking – “I’m not ready to settle down!” Don’t worry, there is not a person in the world that would describe the life that you two have together as “settled.” You are both very career-driven, so you move around a lot and support each other’s professional goals. As a result you are very successful, although you’d be quite surprised by what your current job entails (I won’t spoil it for you).

You have an amazing dog and three cats (Yes, three cats. He’s a cat person and you really really love him so you have three cats). No kids at the moment, not surprisingly that’s been a challenge for you physically. What is surprising is how much this has affected you emotionally. Don’t dismiss these feelings, it’s okay for you to be sad about them.

Your life is truly wonderful, and it’s only getting started. Although the thought of turning 33 may seem nauseating to you right now, I promise as it gets closer it won’t feel that old. The next 10 years will fly by — please take some time to savor the little moments. You have a tendency to over plan and over prepare. Don’t lose these traits because they really help you get ahead in life, but if you could try and lighten up a bit I think you’ll enjoy life a bit more (Travis will help you with this).

The future has it’s ups and downs. I don’t want to spoil too many things for you but I do want to give you a heads up that the Cubs are going to win the World Series in 2017 (maybe place a few strategic bets and wow our friends?). Also, one of our teams is going to break the Cleveland curse (spoiler alert, it’s not the Browns), but it will come after Lebron totally breaks all of our hearts so brace yourself. It probably doesn’t surprise you that sports spoilers are first on my agenda? I suppose I could go into more things that could positively impact our planet but I’ll just trust that you’ll make the right decisions – and don’t worry you (we) are still a good person.

There’s one thing that I just can’t bring myself to tell you. It’s big. It’s really, really big. It’s the most difficult thing you have ever had to tackle and I should probably warn you but I don’t want to take the risk that the next 10 years will be in anyway altered by your foreknowledge of this particular event. I’ll simply tell you that 2016 will hit you like a ton of bricks (and not just because America makes some pretty, we’ll say “interesting,” political choices that make 2017 a truly wild ride). There are going to be days when you won’t want to get out of bed. You’ll doubt everything you’ve ever known to be true and there will be days that you will wonder if you have the strength to keep on going. I know you hate surprises, so if I have managed to somehow reach you with this letter you’re going to hate me (you) for doing this to you (me), but I promise it’s in your best interest to not try and over prepare for this one. Trust me, you can’t. It’s just not possible.

So, happy birthday me at 23. You have an amazing ride ahead of you. Please, take it all in and enjoy all that these years have to offer. When 2016 arrives just take a deep breath, throw your hands up and let the world take you where it may.

All the Best,

Me at 33

P.S. Travis is going to start lecturing you on proper footwear like 10 minutes after you meet him. Please heed his advice, he knows what he’s talking about. You don’t have any grey hairs yet but if you don’t stop hiking in the crappy flats you bought at Target, your feet are going to be shot and you won’t be able to tolerate anything more than kitten heels.

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