To that girl 10 years ago –
I know right where you are. You’re laying in bed at night, talking and wondering if now is the right time to go ahead and start a family. You’re worried that you don’t have your credit cards paid all the way off and that it will be too much money to finish dealing with once you have a kid. You think that it will happen quickly, and you wonder if you have spent enough time just being a couple without adding a kid into the mix. In about six weeks, you’ll walk into your OB’s office for a pre-conception appointment and stop taking your birth controls pills after that.
So what do I wish I could tell you, if I could come back in time and whisper into your dreams?
Don’t worry about the credit cards. You’ll have plenty of time to pay them off and be debt-free before your kids arrive.
You don’t need to know this now, but in a few months you’ll start wondering. So, yes, you eventually will become a mother. And yes, the struggle is worth it.
You’ll be happier when you walk away from religion and how you were raised. Your beliefs will completely change when you are forced to empathize with yourself in your own situation. It hurts not having the ritual, the community to submerge yourself into. But on a daily basis, it’s freeing.
You will still be having the same fight 10 years from now. With the same results. After a while, it feels like a script that has to be played out periodically and it doesn’t hurt so much.
Embrace your introvertedness. Don’t fall into the trap of FOMO. If you want your friends, they will be there, you only have to reach out for them. But otherwise, sit in your solitude and freely enjoy it. You’re not weird, you’re just you.
And by the way, your best friend will eventually come back. Your paths separate for a while, but the ember of that connection is still there and will flame back up if you stay available and don’t shut each other out.
The fear never really goes away – of being destitute and homeless. You will find your coping mechanism, and you’ll learn to center yourself so it’s not so overwhelming. The waves will crash up over you, but you’ll stop panicking when they do.
Give up the tanning bed. Seriously, just stop it. And start using daily sunscreen and night cream right now, please.
Buy stock in Apple Computers. It seems like a foolish waste of money right now, but it will pay off in the long run. It’ll help alleviate that fear of being destitute.
Use your vacation days and go to the beach. Don’t burn yourself out at work trying to save up days “just in case” you get pregnant. You need that time to decompress.
You need to listen to that small voice down inside you. You are enough. This moment is enough in itself, in every breath. Start believing that, use it as a mantra against the fear, remind yourself in those terrified moments – you. are. enough. It will give you space to breathe and collect your presence to respond from a place of stillness and sufficiency. (and I’m still working on this, too.)
You’re not going to hear any of this, I know. You’ll have to struggle through the next decade, learning these same lessons the way I did, or else it wouldn’t be me sitting here talking to you, it would be a different woman. And even if you did hear me, how much would you be willing to take on faith, the word of a ghost from the future? I want to hold your hand and pet your hair and protect you as you walk this path, because I know how much it’s going to hurt. And I’m sorry, but I don’t know any way around that. All I can tell you is that you do make it to the other side, and you’ll be broken along the way, but you’ll glue yourself back together with gold like a kintsukuroi teacup. You’ll be different. Not necessarily better or worse, but different. Above all else, know that I love you. Eventually, you will love yourself too.
And trust me on the sunscreen.