Have you ever sat back, thought about things and thought “hindsight being 20/20 I wish I did…” Me TOO! Here is my chance. I am writing a letter to 20 year old self. She was pretty smart for 20, she was pretty stupid for 20. She needs my help.
Dear Edmonton Tourist,
I am writing you this from March 22, 2011. I know for you it is March 22, 1988. You are only 20 and in your last year of college. You leave in a few days to embark on a life changing experience. Before you go, trust that you will make good choices, because you do. You are smart, you have good values and you are a lot of fun. I am going to share with you what will about to happen. I wish someone had done this for me when I was your age. I would have made some different choices. The good news is, knowing what you are about to know will make life easier when you are 43 and having to make tough choices. I trust you. You will make the right decision.
You found a job as a Spring Break Camp Counselor at a lake in Alberta. You will learn skills that put your Post Secondary learning to shame. You will have the most extraordinary week! It will be so incredible, you will talk to the camp leader before you head back to school, asking for another position in May. You are very charming and convince him he needs you for the last position. Good move! You will look back at this year and remember activities that will make circle time the most amazing experience for children and their mothers. You will meet people who will teach you life lessons that you will never forget. You meet a boy who tells you how smart you are. This will be a new experience for you. Never before have you ever met a boy who thought you were smart, had potential or expected great things from you. You two will talk endlessly into the nights of summer discussing plans for furthering your education. tapping into that brain of yours. You will love being around him because he challenges you to be more than you ever expected. Your room-mates also have high expectations and tell you so. When you choose to leave the brains behind and explore fun, your best friend will look at you like you broke her heart. Her disappointment will be something you think about for a very long time.
All is not lost, the boy convinces you to apply to the University of Alberta in the Bachelor of Education Program. Of course you get excepted! You are a smart girl! Why don’t you believe it? I think I know why…
There was a toxic influence in your life. You broke up with this toxic influence before you left for camp. He poisoned your family. He made them doubt you. You knew you were doing the right things. Your family wanted the best for you. He was cunning. He convinced everyone you loved that he was a better choice and what you were doing was reckless.
That August, when you turn 21, you will go home and visit everyone. It will be a painful experience. No one will understand your choices. You are unable to articulate your needs. You will seem confused. You won’t understand why people you love are angry at you. Some won’t even speak to you. So out of desperation, you go back to the toxic influence. He makes you quit school. You can’t be smarter than him, he can’t win that way. You just want people to love you. You think this is the only way. This is where I wish you trusted yourself. Such a smart girl. So sad that you never thought you were.
All is not lost. That little voice in you will make you cry every day until you are sick of crying. Finally, you will do something about it. You will leave. You will tell your family, tough. Only you aren’t quite tough enough. Still not able to think you are smart. It will take you decades of doubt and self soothing behavior before you believe in yourself. You turn to food as the support you never felt as an adult.
Then you will turn 43.
You will be sick of being smart and not being recognized for it. So, you will go back to University. You will still be apprehensive, not knowing if you could handle the courses. You will be nervous handing in your first paper. Don’t worry, you will be an honor student. You will see things in a unique perspective that will have your instructors praising your insight.
Then you will be tired of not doing things that feed your soul. So you will start doing things that you love. Regular visits to the Art Gallery will just be the tip of the ice burg. You will find people who read the same books as you and love to discuss them. You will let your children make their own important choices. This will be more fulfilling then you ever would have imagined. The pride from watching your children make great choices for themselves will move you to tears.
Then, around Christmas, you will realize you are no longer the same person on the outside as you are on the inside. Off you will go to change that too. You will have a million balls in the air, not one will fall. You are capable enough to accomplish these amazing feats. Your only regret will be you didn’t believe in yourself sooner.
Later on in your 43rd year, you may find you need to make choices that not everyone will agree with. You have learned that lesson already. While it is true that being sensitive to others is important, remember not to lose yourself again.
You matter. You are important. You count.
Don’t forget your Yoga intention.
If you can remember those two words, you will make the next 43 years count.