Hey, hey, hey!
So, I am writing this letter, because we are writing letters now… (yes I read your last post)
Now, what to actually write about ;)
My birthday is in a little less than one week from today. Can you believe it? 24 years old and I have to tell you for a while I was feeling a petite quarter life crises coming on. With the annual review of my life and reflection of where I am at I was slowly starting to get that deer in headlights feeling. You know the one where you are like “Oh, shit! What am I even doing and where the heck am I going? Is that the white light straight ahead?”.
The thing is this feeling is really not new. Every year before my birthday I have this same moment of panic which has me starting to believe I now know how Julius Caesar must have felt when he came across the statue of Alexander the Great when he was only a junior governor.
You don’t know the story?
Well, there are two versions of the story. In one it is said that Caesar was gazing up at the statue of Alexander the Great when a fellow companion remarked how interesting it was that Julius was at that time and place the exact same age that Alexander was when he died, 32. In the other version Caesar had been reading about Alexander’s life, but in both stories Caesar is said to have wept, because at 32 Alexander the Great had already conquered everything from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River, and Caesar at the same age was just barley toe deep in his political career.
The truth is more often than not I feel like Caesar; constantly comparing myself to peers who are doing great things and feeling like I am falling behind in my own life ambitions.
But… here is the thing. Caesar didn’t become consul (aka head honcho) until he was about 43 and dictator some years later. That means he didn’t even start achieving his life goals until ten years after Alexander’s age of death! Yet, would anyone ever say the Caesar was less accomplished in his life than Alexander?
My other spot of enlightenment came this past weekend after watching the Madison Ironman Triathlon. I had that Caesar moment watching the athletes and feeling so very unaccomplished compared to those men and women seemingly made of “tougher stuff”. I watched the race all afternoon, marveling at their strength, endurance, and perseverance before heading to the finish like to catch the winners.
The first man crossed over, the second, the third, fourth, fifth, and I realized there was a pattern.
The top finishers were almost all over 30! It blew my mind!
Then the lead woman came in, age 36… do you get where I am heading?
Perhaps not… I tend to ramble.
My thought is this, Lindsey. Perhaps I should not be concentrating on what I have not achieved yet in my 24 years of life; perhaps instead I should be focused on both what I have been able to learn and accomplish while also looking forward to all the amazing things that I will someday be accomplishing in the years to come! I may be 24 years old, but I am also 24 years young and there is so much more ahead!
For some reason knowing this has helped me to begin to recognize, and feel proud about the great things I have done thus far in my life and has stripped away some of the fear I had of believing that I had not having done enough by 24. (I do know that this is going to continue to be something I will have to work on).
What I would tell my 18 year old self now that I am 24:
- Be good to your family they are the one thing that really doesn’t change. As time goes by and friends leave, you realize just how important these people really are. (Also… your parents are people too so cut them a little bit of slack now and then).
- The same goes for those few “real” friends who are basically family too! Know them, love them, and be a great friend to them in return.
- Don’t be so hard on your body. Relax! Don’t worry so much about how you look. Your body is beautiful because of all the things it is able to do! Think about it for a minute… your body is fricken amazing!
- Don’t worry so much about what people think… I mean does their opinion really matter? See 1 and 2 for insight on whose opinion should matter.
- Embrace your quirks and never ever hide them away under a false you. Being normal is boring! All my favorite people are a bit weird, so go ahead and be as ridiculous as you want! Wear patterns on patterns on patterns and sing Rise Against in the work bathroom… that’s who you are.
- Be the first to make the effort to say hi, smile, or just be nice to people. This is huge and hard to explain, but if you think about all the people who are lonely, or feel unacknowledged then couple that with all the people who can be complete assholes for no reason you can imagine why your little act of kindness can be a big deal.
- Be patient. Success is often not accomplished overnight, but if you do your best and keep moving forward you really can achieve what you set out to do.
- Never stop trying new things. Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop expanding your horizons. Never ever stop!
- It is ok to let people in, to love them, and let them love you. Moulin Rouge said it to me when I was young, but loving and even more so, accepting love is terribly difficult. This goes for all types of love; but I dare you to try. Open up and let go; it might be worth it.
- Go out and see and do new things! Don’t let silly things like money hold you back ;)
Sorry this letter turned in to a blog post… I will do better and write you a real letter this weekend ;)