dear 2012 me/dear 2020 me

dear 2012 me,

you thought the world was about to end, and for that i have to laugh at you a little, dear one. your world was about to end. things were about to change. you aren’t friends with people you once wrote letters to, you’ve traveled to places you never thought you’d end up in, but the world hasn’t ended. it just shifted.

here is my advice to you as you enter our college years. if only i could give it to you.

cottey is where you belong. cottey is happiness. cottey will become home. don’t be scared of it. let go of the people who refuse to change and grow with you: they were not meant for our life and we were not meant for theirs. don’t go to Salem-you will never feel at peace there, you will not grow in some ways you still long to grow, two years later, there. go somewhere else. to Minnesota maybe, so you can spend time with Uncle Denny before the world takes him, so you can spend time with Emmaray and the other Kneesters who are there, so you can be close to home. to Hasting maybe, so you can continue to grow with Ginger and Amanda, don’t pick what seems like the strongest choice. be weak: go home. take longer than 4 years, take 4 and 1/2, study abroad still, you won’t be the only one. it won’t be the end of the world.

but don’t. because if you do, we won’t be who we are right now in this moment, breathing, living us and despite it all, because of it all, i am proud of us. i like who we are. how can i give you advice that would change who we are, that would maybe erase Amani and Krista, Sole and Lilly, from our lives? how can i give you advice that would for a fact erase Kim and Emily and Ju from it? i can’t. i can’t be that selfish. i can’t tell you to unmake a choice so big, it has set into motion all of our choices to come. but i can tell you this: don’t buy sticky putty to attach your pictures to your wall. it takes years to get down. don’t care so much about your grades. let go of your homework some nights so we can smile a little more. go out more when we are in Spain, drink more cafe con leche. say yes but give yourself room to say no when you need to. miss who and what you must but don’t let the past anchor you. try harder with Kim sooner, try harder with Ju sooner too, don’t be afraid of letting your soul go, let them love you. you deserve love. push yourself, at the gym, in the classroom, with friends and family, push yourself in every way to grow. forgive others for the wrongs they did to you, but forgive yourself too because you have to be your own best friend if you want to go anywhere. be calm, as calm as you can be. do more internships, start earlier at Komen, know that it’s okay to question all that you’ve been taught and all you thought you knew, let it go because you can’t control it-just you, just us, and love, we are here, we are fine. smile, it’ll all be over soon and your heart will sink, even though you thought it never could.


dear 2020 me,

hi. i smile when i just write that. who are you? where are you? who have you loved? who do you love now? who has left you? who have you left? what have you learned? what do you long for? what have you lost? what have you gained? did you backpack South America? Australia? New Zealand? are you in the Peace Corps? did you return to Spain? do you live in Chicago? Seattle? Portland? are you in graduate school? where? who do you love? who do you love? who do you love? who loves you?

i hope you worry less than we do. i hope you smile more than we do, even though we smile quite enough, i hope you do so more. i hope you laugh. i hope you still respect your body and give it what it needs and deserves, but sometimes eat the cake too. i hope you are happy. oh that’s all i really hope for you. i hope you write, i hope you run, i hope you travel, i hope you laugh, i hope you know more than i do. i hope you’ve crossed things off of our bucket list. i hope you’ve seen the world more than we have. i’m not even jealous of you for that-i’m just excited. i hope you’ve let your heart get broken. i hope you have some regrets and scars that have only made you a better person, more able to help this world heal. i hope you were strong and brave enough for that. i hope you know more of some things than i do and i hope you know less of some things than i do. i hope you push yourself. i hope you’re content. i hope you’re at peace. i hope you sleep at night moments after your head hits the pillow and i hope you dream of the stars.

i hope you’re happy, love, and i hope you do good things. that’s all i ask of you.

i’m coming for you, but i’m in no rush.



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