Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have a conversation with yourself when you were younger? Like the current you sat down with a younger you, to tell you some things. What would you tell her/him? What would you say to calm her/his fears about the future? I turn 30 in 3 months and this has me thinking about my 20 year old self and all that the last 10 years has taught, given and taken away. So if I were to sit down with that girl I would tell her this:
Dear 20 year old me,
You are receiving this letter while you are living in Amsterdam and traveling all over Europe. You love traveling and by the time you turn 30 you will have seen and done more than you could have ever imagined. But because I don’t want to overwhelm at first with all that your life will look like over the next ten years I will start with the easier things to swallow:
Congratulations because in two years you will graduate college with honors. You not only will graduate but you will be accepted to graduate school. You will chose Louisville but after one semester you will decide that grad school is not for you. A lot of people will tell you that they think it is because of a boy you adored back in Colorado (which was a part of it) and you will feel like you let a lot of people down but truth be told it became one of the best decisions. Turns out that a career in sports management would have left you with long nights and weekends working and God simply had so much more in store for you in your life. But don’t worry, you still LOVE sports. Actually almost more now because instead of working you get to watch sports with friends and family.
Three years from now you will have the honor of standing at your sisters side as her Maid of Honor. You gain a brother n law and your family is overjoyed to dance the night away with what still remains one of the best parties.
Remember where I mentioned that you loved to travel? Well you brave one will take a huge risk and leap of faith by quitting your job at 24, putting all of your things in storage and you move to Central America for a year. You will spend that year traveling and you even go to yoga school. Most of that time you will be loving on 22 second graders and will contemplate how you will ever live in the States again.
In your mid 20s you decide running is something you enjoy (crazy I know) and you run three half marathons. Some with friends and some faster than others but you like the challenge and somehow convince yourself it is kind of fun.
That boy you adored in your early 20s turns out to become a good friend in your late 20s. You both mature and your shared love for biking has you both still chatting away on the trails in Denver.
Some friends from college move away and you grow apart but there are three that still remain close to you. All three of those girls will get married and they all meet amazing men and one particular becomes not only a dear friend to you but to your family.
As for those three high school/middle school friends that you make gingerbread houses with each year and that you live a million miles away from ….. You will be happy to know that distance, marriages and a baby don’t break the bond. Those best friends will always be your safe place to land regardless of what you are going through.
All of this probably sounds pretty amazing and if I am honest it is. The next ten years will be full of wonderful memories but now I must talk to you about the not easy parts of your story that you will face. Remember yesterday when you were in your apartment and you ripped apart a dress with your hands because it was too tight. Well consider that a foreshadow to the next several years of your life. You begin to believe that the face looking back at you in the mirror is not enough. You begin to purge your food and you will spend many evenings calculating what you ate, how much you worked out and you even go so far as to rarely take a photo smiling because of how you look. When you are 25 you finally reach your bottom and ask for help. You will spend three very difficult years in treatment but my goodness Kristina you will make incredible progress. You begin to be honest with yourself and others and find the freedom that you never thought was possible. You begin to glow from the inside out and learn that you are enough.
Just as your health begins to improve the most heartbreaking of news comes… it is even hard for me to tell you because I am not sure you will not believe. You will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer just before your turn 27. You will loose both of your breasts, your nipples and you will loose your hair. You will become very sick and you will reach a place of internal heartbreak like you have never experienced. You will be braver than you ever imagined possible and you will experience love to a depth that cannot be imitated. Your honesty and bravery invites you to share your story and that gives you hope. You become determined to show others that even though your story is not what you had thought, it doesn’t mean it is not a good story.
The best part though is when you turn 30 you will be cancer free. You will have hair down to your shoulders, you will have completed your first triathlon and you will ride your bike on the California coast with your dad and friend for 200 miles. You will embrace life so much that you will often forget to take care of yourself and slow down. You will find a career in the private equity sector (trust me you have to learn a lot) that you love. You won’t be married in your 20s but you will be putting yourself out there in hopes of meeting the right one.You will date on and off and sometimes think it will never happen but you always remind yourself of who you are and that your story is not finished yet. Besides by the time your 30 there will be a little two and half year old blonde haired boy that has stolen your heart. Yes you read that right you become an aunt. Trust me it is about the very best thing.
So while your 20s will be full of both joy and heartbreak I can assure you that you turn into someone you should be very proud of. You begin to understand what you like, what you want and how to love others well. It really is something and you should be very proud of the woman you become.
So enjoy your 20s Kristina because just like that you turn 30
Love Kristina (Almost thirty years old)
20 – Barcelona taken while living in Europe – 21 – Spring Break Junior Year of College on a Cruise – 22 – College Graduation – 23 – My sisters wedding – 24 – Rome with Christie Lee, Mark and Sallie – 25 – Honduras (no makeup) – 26 – Kentucky Summer after I came home from Central America – 27 – After I finished Chemo – 28 – Thanksgiving hair growing back – 29 – This summer in Denver