Dear 22-year old Sara,
I’ve been meaning to write you for awhile now. Now that I am, I hope you slow down long enough to read this! You are alwasy moving so fast, staying so busy… Please slow down and simplify, and decluttter your life and heart. And be open to what I want to share with you 🙂
I want you to know, no BELIEVE, that God cares more about who you are becoming than where you live, or how fast you are, or what you do for a living, or what you do in your free time! He cares that you are becoming loving, grateful, joyful, kind, patient, disciplined, and basically a compassionate badass. When you come to a crossroads in your life, take the road that leads to these virtues, and you will never have to worry that you missed your destiny. In fact, embrace this as your mode of operation. Even when you need to stand up for yourself or express that you are hurt or angry, communicate this from a place of gratitude. It’s a balancing act you may spend your whole life perfecting, but keep at it!
Above all, let love be the driving force behind your choices. Choose a job that you love doing. Or at the very least take a job that will open doors to the life your heart longs for! Chase after the dream, not the money! But be aware that there is no “perfect” job, as there are no “perfect” people.
Which brings me to love. I know you have high standards and ideals. You want to find the pefect partner. You want to wait until you are married. You want to wear that ring and call yourself someone’s other half. You believe that your soulmate and the man you fall in love with are one in the same. Ok, I hope you are sitting down for this one: You are wrong.
Do you know how many times you will fall in love in a lifetime?! At least five 🙂 Don’t worry. Stay true to yourself and have faith that your soul mate is out there, on the other side of your next adventure.
But you have to learn to be whole and complete and completely in love with your life first. You can’t complete another any more than they can complete you! There is no other half. There is just the beautiful possibility that in living a life you are in love with your orbit will intersect the orbit of another. And it truly is an orbit. Sometimes you will feel distant, but you aren’t heading away or toward that person in a straight line. You are two circles, intertwined. Connecting over shared passions and visions, rolling away to pursue separate, but complimenting dreams, and reconnecting once again. When you fall in love with someone who’s orbit intersects with yours, you will know you have found your soul mate. Until you do, don’t try to pull others into your orbit, or force your way into someone else’s. You will just compromise a lot of energy that you could be using chasing the adventures that will define you. And actually, that is where your soul mate will find you anyway… mid-adventure. So don’t lose faith!
And don’t ever make a choice because you think it will make your parents proud or make someone love you more. Don’t ever be so scared of losing someone that you lose yourself. If you lose YOU, you lose the person they love to begin with! PLEASE trust me on this! If you are untrue to yourself, you will only break your own heart. Better to end up alone because you were authentic, and courageously vulnerable, and that scared someone off, than to end up alone because intimacy was traded in for insincerity and insecurity. I’m not referring to cheating and lies here. I’m referring to something infinitely more painful- The disconnect that happens between you and another when you can’t love yourself, because you don’t KNOW yourself. If you can’t be true to yourself and love your life, you will never dwell in a place of true intimacy with another. You just won’t.
So get clear on what you’re after and what matters to your heart. And run after that life with abandon, but with intention as well. You know those journals you burn through with a firey pen? You will lose and find your way in those pages. Those pages are a gift. Those pages will save you. Journal every day if you can, in every radiant and stormy season you face!
And by the way, you do not need to prove yourself. To anyone! You do not owe anyone an explanation for why you choose the paths that you do. Respect your supervisors and parents and anyone with authority. But never forget that at the end of your life, the only one you have to answer to is your Creator.
And guess what? You will do an Ironman. And you will even qualify for the Boston Marathon, and meet some of the bravest chicks around in the middle of that race. But you will be tempted to get caught up in the numbers. The PRs and the podium finishes. You will be tempted to push people away because you have to train, and they just do not “get it”. You will be tempted to push through injury because you believe (falsely) that quitting is not an option. Try, please try, to remember why you started hiking, biking, running, swimming, and yes, even snowboarding in the first place! Because you wanted to have fun and be healthy. If at any point, your pursuit of these activites is not consistent with enjoyment and health…. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. TURN BACK for God’s sake!
Don’t stick with something because you fear being a quitter. Or are terrified to start over! Get clear on why you started, and stop, yes even QUIT, if your motive is not consistent with the standards you’ve set for yourself!
I know you have big dreams! You’ve taken the time to reflect and pray and decide what matters to you. You want to chase adventure in the great wide somewhere. You want to change the world. You want to read one book a week, and write poems while sitting outside a coffee shop on a sunny July day. You want to fall asleep under the stars in the arms of someone who truly loves you, and hike, no RUN up mountains and down trails, and maybe even live in the woods in an RV, or a little shack near the beach!
You want to live in New Hampshire, at least for a little while. You want to fall in love! You wrote it all down in your journal one September morning, a few days after you turned 22. And although so much will change between that September day and the day you open up to this page 17 years later, you are still very much that girl, and those dreams still matter to you!
Please keep that list you made at 22 of all the things you want to do, try, see and become close by! Do not bury it in the bottom of a rubbermaid and put it on a shelf in the garage, only to find it again two weeks before you sign those divorce papers, pack up a U-Haul and drive off to New Hampshire to start a new life.
And when you finally do arrive in New Hampshire, don’t be scared. You will undoubtedly be lonely, but let your faith dissolve all your fears, and trust that God’s got you! Trust in who He made you to be too. Because you are smart and creative and brave and resilient and fearless and positive and compassionate and crazy and stronger than you know!
And this is only the beginning, I promise 🙂