Taking time to reflect and plan ahead is extremely important to me. It's not so much about nostalgia but of learning from my past self and deciding how to intentionally move forward in my life.
For me, journaling has been a crucial part of my life for 18 years. It's my therapy and has helped me deal with and overcome a lot of trauma. It's also where I allow myself to dream and tell the universe exactly what I want out of my life. By goal-setting every year, I make sure I express what I want to achieve, what I want my life to look like, even if I fall short sometimes.
Today I turn 30 and over the course of the past several weeks, I've been reading my journals from my twenties to reflect on this decade, see how I've grown, which (if any) of those goals I still want to pursue and plan for the decade ahead. While I was reading my journals, I found an entry from seven years ago, when I was about to turn 23, entitled "For Christina on her 30th Birthday."
I had totally forgotten about it but sentimental 23-year-old me had the foresight to know that 30-year-old me would find this to be so special. Here's the letter I wrote to myself for my 30th birthday:
Congratulations! You made it to 30 years old! In 2012, you are scared of getting old and turning 22 made you cry. I will be 23 in a month and that seems pretty old to me at the moment. How do you feel seven years later?
Right now, my life is filled with so many uncertainties. I graduated from college almost six months ago and I am having a hard time finding a job. You are probably doing something amazing and worthwhile with your life. You are probably looking back at me and laughing because you know how it all turns out.
Are you a writer like I want to be? Are you married to Steven Herman? Do you two have weird-looking children who are beautiful in their oddness?
I don't know where I am going to be living or what career I will end up pursuing. I don't know when Steve and I are going to get married. I don't know what my house will look like. When I imagine myself at 30, here are my predictions:
I think if you could give me a piece of advice, it would be: Don't fret too much about your current predicament. Great things are in store for you if you have the patience to let time take care of it.
My advice to my future self is not to lose the lust you feel for life and adventure. Stay excited. Don't give in to the monotony that life could become. Don't be scared of getting older. Embrace it as a necessary part of life. Love Steve with a passion. Never forget this passion, never lose it. Kiss him often, hug him long. Compliment him. Hold his hand. Indulge in your favorite foods.
Write! Laugh! Don't take anything too seriously. Travel, cook, bake, read, spend time with those you love. You're going to be an amazing woman, wife, mother and person.
It's amazing how many of your desires can come true if you put them out in the universe and stay focused on what you want. I did marry Steve in an outdoor ceremony in June...two years later than I predicted. We skipped Argentina due to civil unrest at the time and had an incredible honeymoon in Italy instead. I did work at a magazine and publishing company, but decided to go a different route with my career. Now I make a living writing and being creative for a great cause. We don't live in New York because it's insanely expensive but we'll soon have two children who are "beautiful in their oddness." And I've traveled to places that my 23-year-old self could only dream of, with boundless excitement and passion along the way.
Have you ever written a letter to your future self? If so, did your life turn out how you expected?