Yesterday was my 31st birthday and I woke up next to my husband in a very comfortable bed in the Luxor hotel in Vegas. Although slightly hungover from having 2.5 drinks (I know right!), I felt good. I checked my emails and found a letter I wrote to myself in August 2013 sent through futureme.org with advice and hopes for my future.
I had totally forgotten about sending this, so it took me by surprise. This is some of what I wrote:
“Dear Future Me,
Above all I hope you are happy. Truly happy. I hope that you realize now that life is too short to be worrying nonstop. If you are still worrying please please stop right now because you have a good life or at least I hope you do. I hope you found the love of your life, had a beautiful wedding and are adopting children soon or already did. You better still be adventurous and traveling the world often not just taking vacations. I hope you work for a great nonprofit and haven’t abandoned your dreams of helping the world and writing. You are the answer to the world’s problems! You need to listen to your heart and continue helping people… You are beautiful and strong! I hope you are super healthy. Continue to rock the world and be happy from the inside.
Isn’t it crazy how life works. Here I was worrying about my husband and my future as we resettle into our lives in Portland and somehow my younger self sent me a wise message that arrived right at the perfect moment. Life works in mysterious ways sending us signs to guide us forward. Sometimes you send yourself a sign.
This brought tears to my eyes. In some ways I’ve really accomplished a lot of these dreams and in other ways I’m still not able to trust that life will work out and not always worry. I did meet the love of my life and have a beautiful wedding. I actually decided I want to try to have my own kids and not adopt, if we are lucky. I used to fear pregnancy and child birth, but now I don’t. I even adamantly didn’t want kids for many years. It’s crazy how much things change in a matter of years.
I am working at an amazing nonprofit and have stuck to my convictions to work somewhere that I can make a difference in the world. I’m also still a lover of travel and did take an epic 7 month honeymoon. That being said, I’m sorry to say to my younger self that I won’t be traveling quite like that again for a long time. Unfortunately, vacations will be it for a while.
Being truly happy is probably something I still struggle with, because I have too high of expectations for my life and then nothing ever lives up to that. I really truly do want to just let go of these expectations and find happiness within myself. This is a human battle though and only a few have achieved this sense of true happiness. I work at it every day and will continue on this journey.
As I settle into my 30s, I often reflect on how much I have changed and so have my priorities in life. The 22 year old me that went to Vegas, partyed all day at the pool, drinking and meeting guys. I favored late nights, dancing, hooking up with strangers, and feeling carefree. The 31 year old me in Vegas, went to bed early, woke up before sunrise to hike in Red Rock Canyon, drank mostly water all day, and spent my money on a show instead of booze. I’m married now. I’m content with getting up early and not staying out late. I don’t like drinking, I hate clubs, I find people in their 20s obnoxious.
My 25 year old self would slap me for saying all I really want is to settle down and have kids. But it’s true. I’m more jealous of families than I am of 21 year olds partying on the Strip. Vegas was fun, but I’d rather go somewhere cultural.
My hangovers are worse, but I drink less.
I eat healthier, but I gain more weight.
I’m more tired at 10pm than I am at 5am.
I crave sleep always.
I want kids not freedom.
I desire stability not frivolity.
I think everyone looks too young.
Isn’t it amazing how in 2013, when I wrote this at age 26, I was about to leave for 7 months in Australia and SE Asia with my sister. I was single, unemployed, barely had a dime in my bank account, and could drink and eat whatever I wanted. I was happy, but for different reasons.
Now, I’m married, working, trying to have kids, saving for retirement, and gain weight from looking at food. In some ways I crave being that age again and being carefree, but at the same time now I feel happy and secure.
I think I’ll write a letter to myself to be delivered when I’m 40 and see how things have changed by then. If only our future selves with all their added knowledge could write letters to our past selves. That would be more helpful.