A Letter to 38yo Me

Photo by Jill Burrow from Pexels

Did you ever believe that you’d live this long? As a child, we used to map out our futures. What we’d be like as teenagers. In our twentysomethings, batting away quarter-life crises. And we’d imagine being 32. Then it was just dark, unplanned. Nothing lay beyond its horizon. It is uncertainty whether we thought our story came to a halt at 32, or if our imagination was limited. This Saturday, we will meet for the first time and we will have outlived our expectation by six years.

There are things we still haven’t figured out. What lays ahead for us. How this story ends. Where we go from here. That sort of thing. There are things that we do understand, but, in the grand scheme of things, they hardly matter.

We used to believe that love wasn’t meant to be complicated, but we understand that nothing simple is worth the effort. We understand that love isn’t measured, it isn’t finite. It’s something that runs out if we give it all away to a single person. And we understand that it’s often unrequited. We understand that sometimes we give it to the wrong people. And those wrong people give it to the wrong people, thinking they don’t deserve better. And we understand that we aren’t always the better in this scenario. We understand that love fades, but it never fully dims. That a love for a person can change and bloom into something different, unrecognizable from before. And we understand that’s not always a terrible thing, no matter how much it hurts in the moment.

Often, we catch ourselves thinking back on a moment. We dissect the interactions we had years prior. Map out what we could have said instead now that we have the hindsight. We carry the conversation as if it’s happening. As if by uttering the words we should have said then maybe she wouldn’t have left. Maybe we could have been happier. Maybe we could have built something better together.

And we spend most of our time with and money on books. We fill the void with stories containing happier endings. Ending we couldn’t imagine if we wanted to. And when things get awful, we purchase more. And never ending to-read pile.

The relationships we have, we hold dear. We protect those who we love. And we go swinging into battle to defend the bullied. Even if it means that we come out bruised and broken. Even if we know we cannot win. Or fight, for that matter.

Our conversations revolve around the stories we hold. The stories we carry. We remember moments from our childhood. Like how in the kindergarten we accidentally cut of a lock of Amanda Tejerina’s hair. And failed to hide the evidence properly. How we avoided eye contact with Ms. Perez when she tried to get one of us to fess up, take responsibility for our actions. We remember the moments we spent with Jeanna. The fights we had with Jessica. The parking lot kiss with Jenny. The perfect empty moments with a certain blonde-haired librarian, just trying to fill the silence to keep us from losing all inhibitions.

You will inherit a broken and bruised body. A broken and bruised mind. And a heart too big for its own good. You will fall in love with happy people. You will try to comfort the sad. You will be happy on your own, but admit when you need the company.

And who knows, maybe you’ll smile and mean it. At least once in a while.

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