It's odd to consider that specific birthdays are milestones, when every turn around the sun should be an occasion for celebration, especially in a time when much seems hopeless (hello, year 2 of a pandemic). However, our society does place particular emphasis on certain years; we're fixated on fives and tens.
So when I look ahead to the coming week and the advent of a new decade for yours truly, I took some time to reflect and think about what I would say to earlier versions of myself.
Dear 10-year-old Bryn,
Learn to embrace new opportunities and the chances to make mistakes. I know that sounds weird, because we're taught to study hard and not make mistakes. But mistakes are great! We all make them, especially when we’re trying something new. And to keep growing, we have to try new things, and you will learn so much more through your “failures”. Finally, there are going to be things you're not good at, and that's okay, too. Keep reading and exploring and asking questions, and making mistakes.
Dear 20-year-old Bryn,
Keep an open mind to any and every experience and perspective. They will all teach you something - what you want to do, who you want to be, and not be - and you never know where a simple meeting will take you.
Also, don’t stress too much when it seems like everyone else around you is growing up faster, or leaving town for bigger and brighter things. Everyone has their own path, and each path has different spots of shade and sunlight. Bright spots are coming later in the trail for you.
Dear 30-year-old Bryn,
You’re all done school finally, and now you feel like life should all make sense. You don’t have to have it all figured out, and you probably never really will. That’s okay!
With that being said, listen to your heart, be willing to bet on yourself and take those risks. Once you're sure you have what you need to live safely, everything else then becomes a question of your happiness. Loving what you do means so much more than a pay check.
Dear 40-year-old Bryn,
I’m so proud of how far you’ve come, and I think the best still lies ahead for us. I can’t wait to see what you do next.