Me with my college roommate on my 21st. Not my phantom hand.
Happy 21st Birthday! I know, it’s such a cliche, a letter from your future self, but just roll with it. I’m writing to you on our 35th Birthday and I want to share a few pearls of wisdom for you:
Right now you are still on track for Medical School. You’ve got the volunteering in the bag, you’ve survived O-Chem, just know that Virology is going to be a b*tch and that while you think you really should have majored in Med Micro rather than Bacteriology, Bacteriology is going to be a point that sets you apart later. In a few months you’ll meet a great guy. So great that you will talk about getting married not long after graduation and you’ll make a little home together in rural Wisconsin. And then you’ll meet another guy while you are in Grad School and you’ll have to make the difficult decision to break Guy #1’s heart. It will hurt. It will suck. You will cry more tears than you think possible. And it will all work out. Oh, and you’ll become a teacher thanks to that Bacteriology degree and then leave it all to stay home with your kid(s.) And you’ll end up living in Los Angeles, writing an awesome lifestyle blog.
Me and Hubs, circa 2003
Cut Mom some Slack
Next weekend, you’ll go out in Milwaukee with Mom and a bunch of… well, her, friends. You’re going to get mad because you’ll feel like she’s stealing your thunder and one-upping you on your 21st birthday. You’re going to get frustrated when she’s kind of meh about planning your wedding (that you will not have because you and your fiancee are going to elope) and that she keeps referring to your second daughter as “Her little Diva.” I’m going to tell you right now, let it go. Right now, you think that she’s going to be around forever… and she’s not. In fact, she’s going to be gone in fewer than 10 years and no one will see it coming. Make the most of those last 10 years while you can.
Me and Mom, circa 2001
Right now your vision of love is of the romantic kind: flowers, piano playing, walks around the Capitol Building under gently falling snow. While that view of love stays with you, your definition of love will grow to be about self-sacrifice. You will know love when you sit holding your toddler as he vomits all over you, 98-degree vomit sliding down your shirt, all while you stroke his head and tell him that it will all be OK. You will know love when you rock your little girl all night because she can only sleep upright due to a stuffy nose. You will know love when your husband takes you out to lunch while you are in labor, lets you order the muffuletta with olives and holds the bed pan when you throw said muffuletta back up in the delivery room.
Reading this, you may be thinking… I have to change things now, and I’m going to tell you NO. After all, that’s the timey-wimey, grandfathery paradox thing.
These things, these events are part of your past and part of you. Change anything then and I wouldn’t be writing to you now.
Family Portrait, circa 2014
Happy Birthday 21 year old. Have one on me.
Until Next Time!