November 30, 2015
This is Not How I Planned Things...
In freshman year English, we were asked to write a letter to our future selves. It would be put into a "time capsule" and we would get the letters back senior year to see what our past self had to say.
I gripped a purple pen with purpose and began to write a letter to senior-year Cristina. I remember this all like it was yesterday. Mrs. Edwards was telling everyone to be quiet and get to work as this could not be taken home for homework and a kid named Ryan kept peering over my shoulder and constantly asking "whaterr you gonna write?".
I don't remember my entire letter verbatim, of course, but I do remember the key points.
"I hope you're still with Cameron. I don't see why you wouldn't be as you really love him."
"Hopefully you know what college you're going to and what you're going to major in."
And the kicker...
"You better be captain of drill team."
It's what I'd always wanted. I guess it was my high school 4-year plan. Cameron was a pleasant surprise as no one expects to find their best friend/soul mate at such a young age, but I was adamant about the whole "get straight A's and be drill team captain" bit.
I had been dancing for years and I was good. My coach was already urging me to try out for junior officer and I practically had my try out routine choreographed a year in advance. Girls that were in my grade on the team always cooed that I'd be captain when we were seniors, and though I acted bashful and reddened in the face when they said it, I had always hoped they'd be right. I treated every day like it was my chance to prove I was right for the part, even if I had three years until I could even go out for it. Always on time, hair slicked back in a ponytail, smiling and doing the moves the biggest and sharpest.
But then everything changed from the way it was in the picture in my head.
Things happen and sometimes they're the type of "things" that make you decide to transfer to a different school for your senior year. I had people at a school five minutes up the road that I really cared for that I felt I needed to be with for at least a year before going our separate ways.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions ever. I really met some good people and my priorities really changed...in fact I really changed. And definitely for the better.
I never got to read my letter. I'm sure when the teacher found it and said my name aloud to pass it out everyone piped up "she moved!" and it was discarded into a trash can or something. I don't really resent this. I know what it said and I know the goals I had set for myself as a fifteen year old who's sole worry in the world was that she'd be well-liked and accepted.
Here, I was a few miles away graduating with a class of 50 kids rather than 900. I had argued my points in Bible class enough to make my Bible teacher tell me on the last day that he would "definitely remember me". I had accepted my admission to a school I never thought I'd be going to and was excited for the adventure. And though I didn't dance anymore, I had taken up teaching at a place close to home and realized that it wasn't the spotlight I loved so much as helping people get better at their passion.
So this is definitely the longest story that has ever been shared on the blog before and what for? Because I learned through all this that you can't worry about the future. You can't try to plan for it. You can't write yourself a letter and expect all your hopes and desires to be exactly in tact when you get there.
I've been worrying lately even though I know I shouldn't. I'm almost halfway done with my second year of college and I really don't know what the next few years will bring. I know what classes I have to take and all that, but what internship will I do next summer? What kind of job do I want to pursue? Where exactly where I live and work post-grad?
We all have worries like this no matter what chapter of life we're in. Just think, college kids: a couple of years ago you were worried where you'd go to school and what you'd study and look! You're there now. And it's probably pretty hard sometimes, but you've made it.
Nothing is ever accomplished by worrying and they say God laughs when we make plans. These are two things I hold on to when I start to feel anxious about the future. I know the facts: I will graduate, I will get a job, and I will start my own home. I don't know how any of this will unfold, but that's the whole point.. I'm not supposed to.
If I could write a letter to my past self that she would open in freshmen year English I would write: "Don't worry. Let things happen organically. Strive for grace, not perfection. And when something is not good for you anymore, it's ok to walk away."
Thanks for hanging in there for a long story today. And stop worrying; it's bad for your skin.