Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dear me, 20 years ago today, on my 18th birthday

Happy birthday today, 18 year old Laura.

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It's 38 year old Laura. I know 38 seems so old to you right now, but believe me, the next 20 years are going to fly by. Stop rolling your eyes for a minute and listen up. I've got important things to tell you.

20 years from now, you will be mostly the same. You will still have crazy curly hair, only they will make much better products. You will still be a highly organized and motivated person and you will know how to use it to your best advantage. You will still have boundless energy and enthusiasm, only it will be tempered by years of experience.

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At 18, you have HUGE dreams and goals. Many of these dreams will come true. You will travel internationally many times. You will live in many different cities across the US. I'm sorry to tell you that you will also vacation in Fargo, North Dakota... and you will love it.

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You will have a successful career. Anything you want to achieve, you will achieve when you put your heart into it. Keep your strong work ethic - it will serve you well. You may even learn that what you are *meant* to do is something you should have seen all along.

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However you will also experience bad things. You will have your heart crushed and broken. You will break some hearts. You will lose your hearing in one ear. Don't worry - it will be miraculously restored through a crazy procedure that involves lasers and pistons. And while in 20 years there will not be jet packs, there will be super awesome hearing aids.

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You will lose loved ones. The hardest ones to lose will be the ones where you didn't get a chance to hug them one last time. Always hug people when you leave, really truly hug them.

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You will also make mistakes, terrible horrible mistakes. I refuse to tell you about these mistakes because you need those mistakes to be on the path to where you are now. Every decision you make in the next 20 years, even the ones that seem like a bad idea at the time, lead you to 38 year old me.

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And where you are now? It is not what you thought it would be. You are not some high power CTO of a technology company, working a million hours, making bazillions of dollars. You are not saving the environment. You are not rolling around LA in a Mercedes after Caltech. You are not a lawyer, although you made this decision by interning in the patent law office at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, so that's pretty sweet.

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I don't want to give you the details but I can give you this:

38 year old Laura is alive.
She is healthy.
She is loved.
She is happy, indescribably happy, actually the happiest she has ever been in her entire life.

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And that, 18 year old Laura, is all that matters.

LauraJon

34 comments:

Joanna said...

*wipes tears from eyes and considers clapping*

Joanna said...

Happy Birthday!

Brandy said...

Man all this pollen is making me tear up so much! Yup. Pollen

Cynthia said...

I'm crying on YOUR birthday? Come on! Enjoy your special day :-)

heather v said...

Always one of my favorite posts each year. Happy birthday dear friend.

A. said...

Happy Birthday, Laura! I hope the next 20 years are just as fulfilling :-).

Miche said...

Happy Birthday!

Maria said...

Weeping into my coffee this morning. Wishing you the happiest of happy birthdays today. So thankful to have you in my life and to get to see all the awesome. Much love to you.

Mandy said...

Sniff. Happy, happy birthday!

OldSoul said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Happy birthday Laura!

Cacey said...

Damn, and I don't get teary easily! Happy Birthday, XO!

If I could say one thing to my 20 year old self it would be, "Dude you're going to get pregnant asap, so watch out!"

Kim said...

Darn you! Made me cry...

Beth said...

I am so stealing this idea for my birthday. Awesome letter and even awesomer (I know it's not a word) sentiment. Hope your day is special!

Stacy said...

Oh man! I hope no one sees me crying at my desk!

Michele said...

Add me to the crying crew. Happy Birthday!

Carrie77 said...

LOVE this post. And, wow, amazing long curls you have under that graduation cap! Sounds like 38 will be the best year for you yet!

Natalie Mikolajczak said...

Yup, tears in my eyes.

Happy Birthday to one hella cool chick.

Eva said...

Happy birthday! Love, love, love this post!

Irene said...

OMG TEARS!!! Love the flashback. Happy birthday to an amazing person and a wonderful friend.

windycityvegan said...

Happy birthday, Laura! Love this post.

I think the only things I would tell my 18-year old self are "NEVER cut your hair above your shoulders, your favorite color will still be black, and enjoy the next 21 years!"

Lesley Barr Photography said...

<3

Karen said...

Love this post as I sit here tearing up! Hope that your birthday is amazing and that you have many more to come.

Anandi said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Bummer about the Mercedes. I thought mine would be a BMW :)

Goddess in Progress said...

Spectacular post.

Happy happy happy happy birthday. You rock.

mel @ the larson lingo said...

Ummm....I am totally crying at this post. Tears are rolling down my face. Love this post!! Happy Happy Birthday Laura!!!!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

LOVE your 18-year-old hair!!!! But it must have been a LOT of work :)

Happy Birthday, Laura, to one of the ballsiest women I know!

Megan said...

Dang Laura! Just amazing! Happiest of birthdays! We only get wiser and richer the older we get. Truly an amazing post!

Gillian said...

sniffle!! Happy birthday, Laura!!

Tanika Davis said...

OK, one more sobbing sappy reader here! Darn you, LauraC. You should not make people cry on your birthday. You should make people laugh! And get them drunk! Hellloooo, have you learned nothing in 38 years?
P.S. Love the long curls!

Happiest of happy birthdays! I hope to be able to buy you a drink someday!

erinlaughs said...

I cried! Love this letter.

Happy Birthday!

Jill said...

Happy Birthday Laura! I'm so lucky to call you a friend.
Love the flash back pictures and awesome post.

Allyson said...

What a beautiful post Laura. Your 18 year old self would be so happy!
Happy Birthday. :-)))

Candice Baptiste said...

I've been away for a bit, but I came back at just the right time. Happy birthday and I absolutely loved the blog.

Jinan said...

Happy Birthday Laura!
This is so lovely
you have that amazing writing style that keeps me addicted to your posts!
and this one is just so beautiful!