Today is my 30th birthday. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be rid of my twenties. Seriously, let’s do a quick word association.
You: “Your Twenties.”
Okay, stop it.
You: “Your Twenties.”
As with all things, the good is mixed in with the bad. Growth always requires pruning, some controlled burning, a planned demolition. It’s still confusing that all the shitty things that feel like “The End” somehow morph into the Act One of a story that ultimately ends happily– but you never know it’s going to work out when you’re in the moment, crumpled in the corner of a room, sobbing because you don’t know how you’re going to ever recover from what’s happened.
When life carves out a painful “Before and After” you can’t imagine anything positive coming in the after.
But then, it comes.
I think I’m a time traveler, you guys. I really do. Maybe not in the sci-fi sense. I haven’t encountered any dinosaurs or Camelot or future lottery numbers (yet). But I do feel like a part of my mind separates itself to go back to different points in my life so it can reassure the old me.
The first time this happened was on our honeymoon. We’d had a few glasses of wine (entirely unrelated, I’m sure) and were laying on beach chairs, listening to the sound of waves we couldn’t see in the darkness. My thoughts drifted up and out of my body, off the beach, and to a small room in an old house in 2007. I was sleeping on a twin sized mattress in the corner of my friend’s bedroom, below a curtained window I’d stare at for hours when I was incapable of getting out of bed.
Honeymoon Mind drifted into Twin Sized Mattress Mind and said these simple words: “Everything is going to be okay.”
I actually remember being on the other end of that moment, unable to sleep, listening to the breathing of two roommates. I tried to think of anything in the world I could try to possess or achieve that would make me happy. There was nothing. It frightened me that I was unable to imagine a hopeful reality, but for a brief moment it was like my mind stepped aside and another one popped in to whisper “Everything is going to be okay.”
I feel like this happens a lot. Maybe it’s my own self-interest or my will to survive popping up and telling me to push through it. But I prefer to believe my future self is casting itself back to this present moment in a never ending loop, reassuring me that things will work out.
Don’t ask me if I’m scared to turn 30. Are you kidding? I can’t get through Week 1 Day 3 of Couch to 5K but I’d run a marathon of 7-minute-miles to hurry into this new phase of life.
But real quick, while I’m thinking about it, I’m going to send my thoughts back to that girl who thought it would never work out. I need to reassure her that things get better. And at some point, when life decides to swoop in and sucker punch me, I’ll be looking for a word from some future Aussa, sitting on the spoils of victory, letting me know once again: “Everything is going to be okay.”
What would you tell a past version of yourself? Do you crave reassurance from your future self? What has been your best phase of life?
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