Your adulthood is not what you dreamed, and that’s not okay, and that’s all on you. Wait, wait: hear me out – I SAID HEAR ME OUT! Well, there I go, off in my little Saturn coupe to dance badly and stay out way too late.
That is part of why we’re here today.
I’m not going to criticize you. Look, I’m you from the future. I know how everything played out, and I know that we had a lot of fun. Like, seriously: a lot. So much fun that when life really hit us in the ‘nads, we kept going. There are a lot of dark spots that I don’t like to think about, and have made me realize that it really is possible to push memories out of my consciousness. Through some of the worst bits, however, we’re going to remember that we were once exquisitely, ecstatically, breathtakingly happy, and that if we don’t give up we will surely be so again.
And now, let’s pretend that this is a nice written letter that you tucked away somewhere, forgot about, found because it’s the once in a decade that you clean, and are now thinking, “Oh, right. That old bag. Let’s see what she had to say which I already know is going to be totally wrong because I’m going to have a fabulous future.”
Hello there, younger me! You need to dream less and work more. I’m pretty sure Dad and Mom have said this a lot, and we’re going to learn the hard way that it’s true. In fact, I’m pretty much writing this just so I know I warned you. We’re going to do what we want to do anyways, and we’re not really going to have any regrets…
…except for two. Even then, we’re going to find consolation in the bigger pattern, of things that wouldn’t have happened had we not effed up so monumentally. It won’t make everything better, but there are things we have right now that we wouldn’t have, had you been the kind of child that Mom wished for. (Don’t get me wrong: life would probably have been a heck of a lot easier if we didn’t insist on learning so many things the hard way, but there is something exquisite and irreplaceable that you would have missed out on had you chosen another path. Other gifts truly have followed; there has been abundant recompense.*)
With all that said, on the weekend before Thanksgiving 2019, you’re going to be really, really upset. It will be the day you look around, see this is not where you thought you would be at this point in your life, and spend half a breath blaming the people around you before you stop and think, “No. Wait. What can I do? What is it that I wanted by this point in my life, and what do I have to do to get it?”
There’s going to be a dark, burning hunger at the center of our chest: a maelstrom of missed opportunities and lazily saying that we will do things someday, someday…and two dreams are going to flicker and then burn the doubts of the surrounding area as they flare back to life:
- I want to travel, and
- I want to support my lifestyle solely by writing books
These two things are completely doable.
You’re going to think my next words are mean, but that’s only because you haven’t lived through it yet: audacity triumphs over talent. I believe in you – in us – and know that our writing is good. That isn’t necessarily what sells. We’re going to meet people who are published, and writing for the magazines we wanted to write for, and it’s because they persevered, not because they’re better writers. So this year? Let’s do both: we’re going to be the squeaky wheel so that on November 25, 2020, you’re going to be able to say that you visited one of your dream destinations, and people are buying and talking about your book (working title: “Before We Were Gods”) – in a good way.
In the words of the man who loved and supported us the most: “Always get back up.”
Get up, before life hits us with another 2×4.
*Paraphrased from William Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed Above Tintern Abbey”