Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A letter to myself- 10 years ago.

One of the things you hear in life a lot is to not compare yourself to others.  I think it ties for some of the BEST advice and some of the most DIFFICULT to follow that is ever given out.  In my own life I find it nearly impossible to not compare myself to others.  Especially when I look around and so many others are so much farther along in life- or seem so much better off.

When I was 18 I was in a youth meeting at church and we were given a piece of paper each and asked to write a letter to ourselves to read in 10 years.  The letter was supposed to go over the things that we wanted to accomplish in that time period or something like that.  I remember looking at the paper for a long time and getting progressively more and more angry.  I barely knew what I was going to do the next day let alone 10 years from that point.  How was I to know who I would be? What I wanted to accomplish? How could I possibly at that second predict the twists and turns and roadblocks that life would put into my path? How could I tell myself to whether the storms, to get past the trials and the difficulties.  How could I possibly write anything that my 28 year old self could read and say 'hey- go me!'.  I obviously was over thinking the activity.  I remember looking up at the other girls in the room busily scribbling away; assuming that they had bountiful ideas and were writing long lovely elegant letters.  They probably were not; at least not all of them.  At least they were making a show of writing on the cute stationary in front of them.  So I looked down and jotted down a bullet list and drew a picture. I thought- maybe I'll write one of these when I'm 20 so I can open it when I am 30.  I never did.

I have no idea what happened to that original letter- In all of the many moves I've been through since then I've lost track of many things- I'm enough of a pack-rat it it is probably stuck in some notebook somewhere.  In any case it is not something I could find right now.  I do however remember the list I wrote, it was a series of questions.  I don't remember them all word for word- but that letter has always been in the back of my mind.  So I'm going to take the time to respond to it now.

Dear Nikkie;

First off- you did end up getting married! Surprise! I know it isn't something you really thought you'd do- but you did.  Guess what? You know your best bud- yea him, the guy two years younger than you that you think is terrific but it hasn't even crossed your mind to date.  You marry him.  He's awesome.  Like anyone- he'll let you down here and there- but he loves you so much.  He is absolutely one of the best things that has happened in your life.  You  might not believe me on this- but it is true.  While we're on the subject- you're going to have 2 kids.  Yea- I know what you are thinking- take a deep breath- we never wanted kids; huh? Well I can tell you now- I cannot imagine my life without them. You have a boy:
He's a bit OCD but amazing, and your daughter:
She's our little 'Panic Button' but when she isn't crying or throwing a fit she is super sweet and very loving.  They both are- and they do complicate your life- but ultimately in a good way.

So that is your family- at least how it is when you are 30- I cannot tell you anything past that age since it is a mystery to me as well.

Schooling; oh schooling... yea it has taken me, erm... will take you years to get to where you want to be.  You'll take time off to get married, to have your eldest kid and to go on a mission- not necessarily in that order; but you get the gist.  I'm sorry to say it takes you awhile to figure out exactly what you want to be when you grow up- you try every major you are thinking you might like.  The thing is you like all of them.  It takes awhile but you finally settle into Illustration.  I'm not done yet but I'm moving forward.

Those are the big things- the stuff on your mind that you are mostly curious about, but I have a bit more to say.  

I'm writing to you from your 30th birthday, and I've had a lot on my mind lately- about how much everyone I know appears to be doing so much better than I.  My advice to you is to let it go.  I was in church on Sunday and while listening passively in relief society I thought about my upcoming birthday- I thought about my friends, what they have accomplished; and in many ways their lives seem to be so much better.  I'm admitting this with more than a little degree of embarrassment.  All at once sitting in that meeting I realized that it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter who is done with school first, who has more kids, who has a great job, a beautiful house or any of those other things.  We have our whole lives ahead of us.  We have so much to do.  The things that matter now are how happy we are day to day- who is in our life not what.  Like I said; I'm not done with school yet- but I've met so many AMAZING people that I'm actually grateful that I am in school still.  On top of that I'm still learning so much.  We (my dear hubby and I) don't have our own house yet; in fact we're living in mom's basement at the moment.  It's not ideal but it also isn't the end of the world.  We've been married nearly 6 years now and have lived in 8 different places.  4 of those were in the first year of our marriage.  Crazy huh? It's the way it has been.  Moving around that much hasn't been fun- but we've always been where we needed to be.  We've been able to meet some amazing people and come away from each place with fuller lives than we had before.  Life is really really hard- and it is easy to get discouraged.  Even your friends who are doing so much better than you; well they aren't really.  They have their own set of difficulties and their own set of blessings.  So; don't compare yourself.  It's hard but don't do it- you'll be so much happier if you just focus on your blessings and focus on the ways you can help those around you.  

Also- this: 

is something silly- but will mean more to you than all of the other things you could ever have in your life.  

So remember to smile; remember to look at the good in your life.  Everything will be ok.

me I mean you... you know what I mean.


Good night everyone- thank you for the well wishes on this day- it was a really great day- and I look forward to the next decade of life.  'Cause it will be amazing.



  1. Evan was SO excited when he made you that card. I did the 10 year letter thing when I was 40. At first it was a little depressing, but then, I started to think about the good things - like I'd probably be a grandma by then! Thanks for making the best things come true!! love you!

  2. That was really sweet. I should do something like that. I *did* find my letter I wrote when I was 16 or 17 to myself and read it. It was a serious disappointment, but also eye opening. It's much nicer to be who I am now, than who I was then.