This is not a love letter in the conventional sense. It was my friend’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, but I feel like I actually got the best present.
I’m grateful for her words and her courage to let me put it online. (Yes, I did ask her beforehand…) I want to share it, not for you to see what amazing and kind friends I have, but because I hope you can read it as if it was yours. As if it was addressed at you. Because I really believe that we share some of these thoughts from time to time and we all need to be reminded that it is okay to be doubtful, fearful, but also hopeful. And it is okay to be who we are.
Thank you for inspiring me and loving me more than I love myself. By the end, you had me in tears…
„Now I am 28 years old. Actually this is no special age, but on the evening before my birthday lying in bed I was thinking that it is now 10 years since I have turned 18. I asked myself what I had thought I would be doing 10 years later. There are these moments – either when you dream about “what will I be doing then” or when you remember this question actually looking back at what you have done and are doing.
There had been another moment like this. It was July, 1 2011 and it was the exact date of when my high school graduation had taken place five years before. After high school you also think about “what I will be doing in five years’ time, where will I be?”. On this day I, five years later, I was in hospital and felt like the world crushing around me. Leaving me with no stability as I was constantly thinking about these two letters. So I was sitting there and suddenly realizing, this was not what I had expected five years ago. Fortunately, even though it took me a couple of weeks and months to realize this, it all is not as unbearable as I thought it would be.
So yesterday was another of these moments. What was I thinking back then at the age 18? Where would I be ten years later? What would I do? Who would I be? Well, I can’t really remember in detail. But I am sure I thought I would have finished my studies by now, might even be married and have children. A clearly structured and stable life. And what I most definitely thought was that by 28 I would feel grown-up.
None of this is actually the case. I haven’t finished my studies yet, however, even though I don’t like it I know that there are reasons for it and maybe I didn’t really have an alternative. It is nothing I regret, because I didn’t really have a different option. Of course, there were times I could have done more, but there have been many times last year, weeks and months, where my mind was caught up with so many other things. I am not married and have no children – and I don’t want that right now. It will probably change at some point and it will be good, but just not yet. And it all is connected to that feeling of being grown-up. When I was younger I always thought that it will be a different feeling. That you actually know what you are doing, you can handle any situation and you have an answer to every question. It is pretty naïve, but in my defense, I was young! Still, it is a process that I am slowly beginning to realize that this idea of mine about being grown-up does not exist in this form. This point in life when you feel grown-up and secure – that might not come around, because maybe even this feeling does not really exist. And the idea that I should have answers to all questions is nonsense anyway. Why should I feel and know things that I haven’t ten years ago? I am not sure if I can actually express what I am trying to say. It is the idea that at some point all the insecurity must vanish, that you have a strong mind with no room for doubts. However, I think this won’t happen. And it probably can’t happen like this and maybe it even doesn’t have to happen.
Everyone is dealing with fears and doubts. And it is okay if some people have a harder time struggling with their demons. Especially in today’s society based on success and achievements. Yet, at the end of the day it is up to me to deal with myself. There is no one who can do that for me. And maybe the answer is that there is no easy answer. There is no button you can push and it all is okay. But in the end, maybe even this is okay. Because maybe it is not about fighting your thoughts, your doubts and fears, but it is about accepting that they are part of who you are. And that life is not about everything being perfect and happily ever after. And this is okay, because life has always been like that for everyone. Relating that back to my favourite two letters – at some point I have decided that fighting against it doesn’t help and I have made peace with it. Peaceful coexistence if you want to say so.
Not knowing what will come is not easy and it is always a big challenge. But maybe it helps to remember that it doesn’t affect all parts of your life. Even though when feeling small and helpless it doesn’t seem like it, there are people and relationships who are not affected by it and who are still there, support you and won’t leave you alone. The foundation to actually find happiness.
You are such a person to me. And I try my best that I can be such a person for you too. You have asked whether you can give this all back to me – unconditioned acceptance and friendship. “If I could give you one gift, it would be this; that you can see yourself like the others see you.” What I am trying to say is – you are wonderful.”