Notes to a former self

Joining the Peace Corps sure does sound like a hurdle to jump, but the biggest challenges you’ll face have nothing to do with Africa and everything to do with yourself.

You will write lots of letters, long handwritten letters. People will tell you they’ll write back, but they won’t. Write anyways.

It’s ok to skip dinner in favor of popcorn. But vegetables are irreplaceable.

You’ll learn the sour smell of your body after days without a bath. You’ll stop wearing antiperspirant. Oh baby, you’ll become a hippy.

It wasn’t just a phase. You’ll always love India.

Remember that time you and your girlfriends squealed when you saw a mouse crawl over the mantel at that cabin outside Asheville? Mice, former self, are your destiny.

You will refer to yourself as baby once you read Alice Walker and calm yourself after life or death moments that include fires, tipped busses, hyenas, incompetent healthcare systems, restrictive governments, and the destitution of the poor. Baby you are sweet and it’s ok to break over hardship even when it’s not your own. Let yourself feel.

You will mourn the loss of the lives you could have had: the Pinteresty weddings you could have attended, friends’ newborn babies you could have held, the holidays you could have toasted, the sparkly/lacy/pastel colored clothes you could have worn, the gardens you could have toured (rosebushes!), the enlightening conversations you could have held over lattes or lemon water or microbrews or white wine. Cry now, baby, because all those things that validate your life are about to change.

You will plan the lives you still could have, only to realize it’s not the job or the city or the husband or the kids or the house that really matter, it’s the living you’re thirsty for. Bungalow with a picket fence, Croatian beaches with a notebook, garden wedding with a live piano…it all boils down to comfort, adventure, and beauty. You can find those whatever you do, wherever you go, whomever you’re with.

It’s ok to admit that you are lonely, uncomfortable, and uninspired. Wallow a while. And then, one morning, wake up and remember that you were made for glory.

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2 thoughts on “Notes to a former self

  1. LOVE this, and your last few posts. You are an insightful and wonderful writer; thank you so much for sharing your perspective and experiences!

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