A letter to my 31 year old self from my 80 year old self; from an exercise Nannette and I are doing...
Dear 31 year old Amie,
I remember being your age like it was almost yesterday, and it's now been almost 50 years. Aren't you glad to know you made it to this age? (It's because you stopped smoking.)
I know that you spent much of your young life feeling insane and chaotic and lonely and in search of something that always eluded you. I know that at this age--as you read this--you are still looking for "home." You're wondering if you'll ever find it. You have hopes of having a family but you doubt it will ever happen. You wonder if it is possible to have a relationship that stimulates your mind and creativity, allows you to express yourself, makes you feel loved and safe and secure, and that is passionate and warm and cozy at the same time.
I'm not here to be your fortune-teller or to give you any lottery numbers. I'm here to tell you that you're not crazy for asking these questions, for searching for these things. It might be hard and lonely and scary at times, but you're doing exactly what you need to do.
Don't let the people and the situations that have hurt you fence you in and define you. You have a lot of love to give and that's one of your best qualities--you give it easily and freely. It might feel like some people take and take and that you'll end up used up and tapped dry, but there's plenty more where that came from. And there's the line you've heard--from a Beatles' song? I can't recall and you probably can't either (and, believe me, it won't get any easier)--that the love you make is the love you take.
I'm writing to tell you to grab it--grab it all. Explore the world every chance you possibly can. Try as many things as you can dream up at least once. Love everyone you can get your hands on, regardless of whether or not they love you back. Don't ever stop talking and writing, because when you do stop part of you withers up and dries. Find people who challenge your mind and expand your thinking, and be sure to let them in. You are really something to see when you're open and happy and excited and accepting.
You may be worried that the 80 year old you sounds like a hokey and sentimental old lady. Well, she is. But she's loved and been loved well. She has age spots on her hands and laugh lines on her face. And she's going to leave the world just a tiny bit better than she found it.
P.S. Drink more water, eat more vegetables, and get your ass to the pool.