Friday, October 7, 2011

a letter from future me

Emily shared this earlier in the week, and it finally struck the chord I needed to figure out how to close out my year.   You can read last year's letter here.
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Dear 30-almost-31-year-old-Katie - 


Girl, seriously, you need to chill.  The fuck.  Out.  You've got a lot of years in front of you and spending all day every day worrying is just not going to get it done.  Don't worry, I remember that year.  There was a lot to worry about.  Let me help you out a bit.


Your first day of being 30 was a whopper.  It took you a while to come around but trust me, getting married again was a good call.  The first time around you were scared and small and it avalanched over you and tried to break you, but this time - I promise you - the poet is the real deal.  You might think that he was crazy and trust me, he still is, but his instincts are good and he helps you un-clamp a bit.  It would do you some good to be more spontaneous, actually.  But being married, that year, was pretty great.  You're still figuring out who empties the dishwasher and who washes the sheets but for the most part you are making a lot of time and space for each other and you can breathe.  Don't lose those moments.  You're 10 months in and you've got 50 years to go.


You worry about money, a lot, and I wish I could tell you how much it all just doesn't matter.  You're being smart about it, with your budgets and your color-coded spreadsheets and your 82 different retirement accounts, but sometimes you just need to go out to dinner already.  Blow $100 on shoes that have heels so high you'll only wear them once.  Buy the shirt and for the love of God, don't return it.  You are starting to breathe a bit at work, and you have finally realized that you really do love the work you do, and that's helping.  But you're also learning that it's okay if you don't love it because work should not be the center of your life, and that's a lesson some people will never learn.



This was the year you finally finished your 5-year-trek through post-graduate degrees.  As it turns out, the piece of paper with the letters really wasn't worth all the time and effort and definitely not the money, but the friends that you met made up for a lot of it.  You still have some of those friends, and you'll always be happy that your history runs through Bloomington.  You did a lot of dumb things on that campus, you made a lot of stupid mistakes as you grew up, but it's one of the few places where you feel like you have deep roots, like you are connected with a history and tradition that is a lot older than you are.


This was the year you finally ended your on-and-off relationship with running.  The on-and-off part ended, anyway.  When you turned 30 you thought that you were on the fast track towards healing after having surgery.  Just as quickly, you ended up back in the orthopedist's office crying 10 days before yet another half marathon.  Isn't it funny how insignificant that race seems, after all this time?  The race isn't important.  What's important is that you figured out how to build the foundation so this can be a part of your life that is big and real.  As you're about to turn 31, it's not completely fixed, but it's getting there.  And you've discovered a whole new world in triathlon.  Pace yourself there, will you?  You've got at least 60 years of racing in front of you, no need to cram it all down your throat in a year.  But more important than racing, running will always be where you go when you need an escape, when you need to smooth over the rough edges of your life, when you feel like the anger is going to lash out of you.  I know that some days you feel like giving it all up, like it isn't worth all the effort and grief, but don't.  It's where part of your soul lives and you'll never be right without it.  


This was the year Molly came home and oooooh was that one hell of a mess.  But she grew up and stopped chewing on the baseboards and snuggled her way into a tiny warm spot right under your heart.  I know that right now you firmly believe that you'll never love anything on this planet like you love your puppies, like you love your Graham when he lays his head in your lap and sighs.  I won't ruin any surprises but I will tell you that there are lots of different kinds of love.  Keep your mind open.  There are all kinds of families, and the hardest part about them is that they won't always be around.  Try to stop being mad about who yelled at who in 1997 and reach out. 


This was the year when you saw just how much your friends meant to you.  All I'll say is, these are the friends that will be next to you in the nursing home some day.  Your girlfriends are going to be there through the really amazing days and the really horrible ones, and you're going to have a lot of both.  Make sure they know how much you love them, even when you disagree or lose touch for a while.  There are more important things than who was right, or who was supposed to call who, or who forgot who's birthday.  What's important is your have these friends, spread out all over the country, real true friends who you can text pictures of your foot or call sobbing because you dropped your burrito or spend all day emailing about penis size and calorie count or just put your arms around them and dance.   


But more than anything, this was the year when you figured out that you matter.  This was the year when you finally allowed yourself to be happy, when you burst up and out and into the light.  Stood up for what you were, not what you always thought you should be.  Stood out for being loud and different and discovered that sometimes it is okay to get what you want, it's okay to jump up and down and yell, "That's right, motherfuckers!".  You may not be the best or the strongest or the fastest at anything but you fought like hell for this life, for the kind of joy that explodes out of you and rings in the air.  It took you a lot of years to figure out what's important, and you're still working on it.  But where you are, this moment in time: this is what life is like when it's really, really good.  Your heart beats strong and fiercely and carries you forward.  Don't forget, don't let it go, and don't stop.  


I love you.  Happy Birthday.
Katie

29 comments:

  1. This is incredible.

    I for one know that my life has changed this year because of meeting you. I laugh at your tweets and blog posts. I smile each and every time your pink hat picture shows up on my laptop because I just know that something good is about to happen.

    I am very happy for you that the changes in life are happening and that you are embracing them. I did not know you when all these other things happened, and I won't pretend to 'know' you now and will never 'know' you because life is always evolving. WIth that said I will also add that I hope to see how you embrace your life and show us all that you can just be yourself and that life will be alright.

    I hope one day (very soon) that our bike paths cross (no crashing) and that I can laugh in person with you the way I laugh by myself when I get an email or a simple tweet that says.....grrrrr!

    2011 has been epic in many ways, but one way was getting to meet you.

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  2. This is a very nice letter to yourself and it seems like you have came a long way this year! Being happy with yourself is one of the most important things I think.

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  3. This is just absolutely lovely. Thank you so much for sharing. Really - wonderful. Love it!

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  4. So touching. I'm so incredibly proud of you and also so glad that you're my friend and in my life. Can't wait to see you at the end of October! Big hugs (even if they make you twitchy).

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  5. Wait. So, is it your birthday? If so, Happy Birthday!! And if not, then... ummm.. happy early or belated birthday.

    Awesome idea... and that last paragraph.. EXACTLY.

    Aren't the 30s awesome?????

    Good luck this weekend!

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  6. The 30s are an awesome decade. I felt like that's the point where I really became comfortable with who I was.

    You've come a long way, girl, and your future is so bright! Looking forward to watching your butterfly wings unfurl!

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  7. All I can say is I love this post. Happy Birthday. To another amazing year.

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  8. Wow! Amazing post! I read your other post as well. VERY honest!

    And Happy Birthday! Hope its a great one!

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  9. Happy birthday!

    You have a lot to celebrate, clearly. And from a 45-yr. old perspective, I think you've got your act together. Way to go.

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  10. This! Love this. And you. And I can't wait to hug your face off in 3 weeks!!!! Happy Birthday chica!!! 31 is going to be the year of the AWESOME!!!

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  11. This is a great idea! You have color coded spreadsheets too?!! I can totally relate to some of your woes :-) Sounds like you are just where you need to be!

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  12. Happy birthday! I'll write that on your FB wall tomorrow. Also, I love whoever invented reply to all, oh and that conversation grouping feature in gmail. The ridiculousness is easily one of the highlights of each day. As for the nursing home...never. How about next to you in the 80-85 age group in a race?

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  13. Its pretty incredible the amount that you have gone through and achieved in one year. Marriage, puppies, multiple making-it-to-start-and-finish half marathons, half irons, CdA commitment, individual coaching, MBA, all while sending approximately 1,463 emails a day :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  14. happy birthday, friend! My life has been forever changed by meeting you- you inspire me and push me and you are so so fun to eat burritos with after a ride!

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  15. Happy birthday. This post is awesome, but I need to leave it there as it's hard for a dude to properly verbalize an appropriate comment. You owe us more big pics now.

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  16. The 30s truly are fantastic.

    My favorite part of this post: penis size. *snicker*

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  17. Love this! What a life changing year. Happy birthday! I'm glad you will be celebrating with a great 70.3 tomorrow.

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  18. "This was the year when you finally allowed yourself to be happy". Goosebumps.

    Keep this letter for Every year, because your insight will always be relevant and true.

    Happy Birthday!

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  19. Happy Birthday!!! Now go kick that race's ass and party like crazy! :)

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  20. Happy Birthday! and with each year of your 30's it gets better and better, we become more efficient in training, slightly more aches and pains but all worth it! Thanks for sharing

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  21. Happy Birthday! Sounds like life is only getting better.

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  22. Like others have mentioned, your 30's seem to be the time to let the world know who you are because that's when you figure it out. Great letter, great post and once again, very inspiring!

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  23. Happy Birthday! This is a great post and it really makes one sit back and think how truly lucky we are to be able to live the life we choose. I'll be looking for you at Waterman's tomorrow - woop woop!!

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  24. Happy almost birthday! My 30s so far have been pretty good. I hope yours improve with each year.

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  25. It's hard to believe that all of that happened in just a year... You deserve it, babe.

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  26. What a touching way to celebrate you!

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  27. I love this. Happy Birthday!!!!

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