This is a guest post by Kim of So Many Places. She reminds us that, often, our dreams have been with us for a long time; we just have to take the time to listen.
Last weekend my husband Brian was out of town and I planned a few days of alone time with me, myself and I. I cleaned the house, made an unrealistic list of 8 million things to accomplish, and then set about crossing things off the list. Oh how I love a good To Do list! But somewhere between “make homemade soup” and “write 3 query letters” I began to understand that what I really wanted to do with my quiet time was reflect. Yeah, I was in one of those moods.
So I pulled the ladder in from the garage and made my way up to the attic where I dusted off the Rubbermaid container that holds my old journals and pictures from high school and college. Then I poured myself a big ol’ glass of wine and spent the remaining hours of the day thumbing through my past.
Shoved into the back of one of my journals I found a letter I had written to myself ten years ago when I was in college. I’d gone on some kind of retreat and we’d been tasked with writing a letter to ourselves that would be mailed to us one year into the future. It was nothing I ever would have done on my own and I’d completely forgotten about it. I’d probably received it, read it once, and then shoved it into the back of that journal never to be read again.
So you can imagine my surprise when I rediscovered it. And though most of what I was writing about at that time was a cringe-worthy montage of boys and parties the letter was sort of insightful.
And it made me realize that I’ve been dreaming of, and struggling with, the same things for a very long time. I’ve said on my own blog that I’ve always known what I wanted to do but I’ve also always lacked the belief that going for my dreams was possible, or at the very least, responsible.
Here is an excerpt of the advice I gave myself at 19, sitting against a tree in the springtime under the bright stars of southeastern Ohio:
“Be true to yourself! Listen to that inner voice, feed it, never lose it. Stay passionate and write things down. You may not be good with the spoken word but you can still get through to others. Write it down and set it free! (Kim’s note: at that time in my life I had a horrific fear of public speaking. I just simply could not do it without panicking).
There are many journeys to come, so many that you can’t even begin to imagine. Don’t hold yourself back, which you are guilty of sometimes. You do a great job believing in others- go ahead and believe in yourself.”
I read the letter a few times. Then I curled up on the couch and I wrote back to my 19-year-old self. I told her that I had received her letter and that it was beautiful and it meant a lot to me. And I told her that she was right, things had happened in her life that she could have never imagined. I told her that her life was bigger than she had dreamed and that there was a peace in her that she wouldn’t have believed possible. And I told her that she had given me permission all of those years ago to believe in myself, and that it had been a long road, but I wanted her to know that, finally, I do.
Then I wrote my ten-years-into-the-future self a letter. I told her that I wished her bravery and clarity and joy. I told her I was excited to meet her some day and that I hoped she’d have what she dreamed of. And then I told her that I loved her and I sealed the letter up and stuck it into the back of the journal, where it sits today and where, one day, I’ll discover it again and marvel at how far I’ve come.
About The Author: Kim is a writer in Portland, Oregon. She and her husband are in the process of selling their things and quitting their jobs so that she can (finally!) follow her dreams of writing and traveling. Kim writes about her journey at www.So-Many-Places.com. You can also find her on Twitter @rtwsomanyplaces or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoManyPlacesTravelBlog