I’ve been lacking inspiration for creative posts lately, and upon Googling some possible blog prompts, I stumbled upon this one: “Write a letter to your future self 15 years from now”. While the list featured 50-something prompts, that one stopped me in my tracks. So here goes…
Dear Me at 48:
It’s 2037 and you’re a few months away from turning 49. Remember when you were 29 and came up with a list of 30 random things to accomplish before turning 30? I hope you’re not doing that again with 50 things to do before 50, but I wouldn’t put it past you. Remember also how you cried on the night before turning 30? Please don’t do that again either! Your 30s (evaluated from the wise old age of 33) have ended up being a hell of a lot better than your 20s. You can only imagine your 50s! Live your life at the moment, do the things you want to do, and do them because you want to do them – not because you perceive some expiration date of your vibrancy with your next birthday ending in a -0.
I’m not going to do that small talk thing where I immediately jump to what you’re doing professionally. Life is so much more than working just to pay bills and eke out a few weeks of vacation each year. I hope you’re living comfortably, but that you’ve stuck to your guns on not letting your work life consume you.
I hope you’re living somewhere (or maybe between a few places) where you have the perfect mix of beautiful places to be outside, four seasons, family and friends, and a sense of adventure as you continue to explore. Unless some advanced scientific miracle has kept Paisley alive to the age of 19, you’ve said goodbye to her by this point. I hope that you know that she was the best dog you ever could hope to have (first dogs always are, right?) and that you spoiled her rotten and gave her the best life she could ever want. I hope you have opened your heart and home to a dog with a bit more endurance for outdoor hikes.
I hope you’ve gotten serious about avoiding the health outcomes that your family is plagued by, like heart disease and diabetes, and have maintained a lifestyle rich in movement and healthy foods – not out of fear, but out of a fighting spirit to beat the genetic odds working against you and ensuring that you have a long and healthy life. As I write this now, I’ve just found a rhythm that I don’t hate in healthy movement and eating – I sure hope that sticks.
I hope you’ve crossed off a number of bucket list National Park trips with Jon. He’s the greatest, honestly. Don’t ever take him for granted and make sure that you spend as much time as you can in the moment, appreciating date nights and not scrolling on your phone. What could possibly be better on your phone than the wonderful guy who believes in you more than anyone? Hm?
I hope you’ve realized that your despisal of small talk is no excuse to be mean to people. At this point, you’ve had a presence in the Midwest about 4x longer than you had on the East coast, so just embrace having to say hello to everyone you walk past already. Yes, small talk is ridiculous and a waste of oxygen, but archaeologists don’t find relics of ancient times that shape our anthropological history by just running a broom over the ground. You have to scratch at the surface before you can dig deeper. That said, I hope you’re nicer to people in airports and on planes now, too. If the person next to you really wants to talk to you, be nice and hear them out. Unless they’re creepy. God, I really hope air travel is less hellish 15 years from now. Can’t be worse than it is right now… I hope.
I hope that you spend as much time as you can outside, that you read many, many books each year, and that you’re still as committed to learning and evolving as you were when you were younger. I hope you’ve finally stopped buying things that are poorly made and go out of style and that for your sake, you live really far away from a Target so that you aren’t making impulse purchases there 1-2x a week. I hope you have gotten to a place where you embody the cliche that happiness can’t be bought.
I feel like at 33 you were finally starting to hit your groove. I hope you continue to apply what you learned at 33 and are blossoming to your fullest as you approach 50. I hate those expressions like “50 is the new 30” or whatever. Maybe those expressions will be out of fashion in 15 years? We can only hope. 50 is 50. Age is a mindset, it’s how you find a balance between pushing yourself and being kind to yourself on a daily basis. Your life is a sum of those days. Your days are a sum of small moments. Appreciate where you are and how far you’ve come.
I’m sure you’re just killing it.
Love, Me at 33.