There’s an interesting exercise going aroung the blogosphere these days called Dear Me. The idea is to write a letter to your own past self. What would you tell yourself, if you could go back in time?
I’ve written letters to my future self, but I’ve never tried addressing my own past. Having enjoyed some of other people’s “Dear Me” entries (including Catherine’s, as she’s the one I caught this particular idea-germ from), I decided to give it a try.
To: Trudy J. Morgan, 1987, Oshawa Ontario.
From: Trudy J. Morgan-Cole, 2007, St. John’s Newfoundland.
Right away I know there are two things in the heading of this letter that are a huge relief to you: the hyphenated last name, indicating that you’re going to get married, and the return address, indicating that you’re going to move back to St. John’s.
Yes, I know all your deepest fears. I know that you worry that you’ll never marry and have a family, even though you want to. None of your romances have worked out so far, and after all, you are nearly 22, so time is slipping away! Or so it seems to you.
I also know that, although you’re enjoying the adventure of living on your own in a new place, the homesickness inside never quite goes away. You want to end up back in St. John’s, but you’re afraid you never will.
I can put both those fears at rest. You will move back home, and you will marry a wonderful man (no-one you’ve met yet) who is kind to you and makes you laugh. You will have two beautiful children, and although there will be days when they make you scream, you will also laugh with delight at how lucky you are.
Right now you enjoy your job, but you dream of something more — work that will keep you working with young people, but allow you to help those who need help most, in a more practical way. You will find that work, although it will take some years, and you’ll have wonderful adventures along the way.
In your work and in your personal life, you’re learning now to establish some boundaries, to protect yourself from caring too much and getting damaged. You learned a lot last year, didn’t you? Setting boundaries is a good thing to do. The day will come when you will wonder whether you’ve made your boundaries too firm, protected yourself too much. The day will come when some of them will have to be breached again, but by then, you’ll be ready for it.
Regarding love: I know you’re in love now and that you believe this love was “meant to be,” that the person you’re breaking your heart over is your “destiny.” Hear me on this: he is not. Yes, you love him. There are as many different kinds of love as there are different people. You love him as what he was meant to be: a dear and special friend who will always be in your life. I cannot begin to explain to you the extent to which he is not the right person for you to marry. It doesn’t matter, because you’re never going to get the chance to say yes or no, but maybe I can spare you a little heartbreak.
Regarding writing: Keep at it. Not every dream you have for your writing will come true, but many will. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Some of the paths you take may be unexpected, but you will be happy with the results.
Actually, that’s true for life in general. You are on the right track. You will make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them. Trust the way God is leading in your life. Trust your own head and your own heart. Both are true, and you are learning which one to listen to when.
Looking at you from the distance of twenty years, I’m proud of you, and I hope you would be proud of me if you could see me. I will not offer any advice which could change your path, because you’re headed in the right direction. All I can do is remove a little of your fear and uncertainty, by assuring you that things will work out all right. I know how much you hate uncertainty.
I know you hate it, but I also know that fear and uncertainty are the soil in which faith grows. If you knew for certain that everything would work out, would you need faith? Would you be motivated to try as hard? Would you be the same person you are, without those fears?
Maybe the fear and uncertainty are part of what you need to grow.
Maybe I shouldn’t send this letter.
I think I’ll just hang onto it. Don’t worry about a thing.