About a month ago I turned 23. Twenty effin three. Still cannot believe it. Graduating from high school still feels like yesterday. How come the years passed so quickly? Where did they go?
Where is my life taking me?
Or, more importantly, where am I taking my life?
The same Mary Olliver quote plays over and over again in my mind, inspiring and terrifying me at the same time: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The possibilities seem endless.
Yet I know that even though I can do anything, I cannot do everything.
At the same time, modern society requires of 20-somethings and young professionals to have done everything already – seen the world, done the fancy internship, worked their ass off, completed a handful of degrees and courses, learned Mandarin, and so on. And to have a pretty concrete idea of what they want to be doing in ten years.
When things get a tad too frustrating, I’ve found that re-reading this post by Garance Dore, one of my all-time favorite bloggers, helps me put things in perspective and think more clearly. It is a letter she wrote to her 20-year-old self when she turned 40:
“The truth is, everything you’re afraid of is going to happen to you. You’ll be poor. You’ll get dumped. You’ll lose someone you love. You’ll be ridiculous. You’ll make mistakes. Oh yes, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll make so many mistakes!!! Sometimes you’ll feel completely lost.
But whatever happens, you’ll always have yourself.
Your sense of humor, your crazy theories, your love for life, your curiosity about others. Your ever-changing vision of the world — all of these things will stay intact.
And you’ll realize that right when you think you’re going to fall into pieces and crash on the floor, that there will be loving arms there to catch you, and whether that support comes from close friends or strangers, they will be there. Learn to recognize it, and give yourself over to those loving arms.
Learn to let go and give yourself over to loving arms. Learn to see the magic of existence.
Learn to follow all those invisible threads that you’ll weave together just by being yourself, always progressing toward more light, more acceptance, and more truth.
You also need to know that you will be loved, and you will be successful. And all those difficult moments that came before will protect you from being afraid. Stop worrying. You’re going to see the world, and meet people, and learn to love them. You’ll learn tenderness. Toward others, and toward yourself. You won’t be so afraid anymore. Don’t be so afraid, sweetheart.
And don’t worry, you who loves nothing more than having a good time. You’ll have just as much fun at 40 as you did at 20, maybe even more. Life won’t become this gray, serious, full of responsibilities thing you imagine.
Life won’t be at all like you imagined, so stop guessing and go experience.”
– Garance Dore