Shortly after my birthday in 2011, inspired by a Plinky prompt, I wrote a letter to my-one-year-in-the-future-self. It’s sat in the drafts section of my email box ever since. Read it this morning, and I’d like to thank 34 year old Niki for the smiles. I’d also like to assure her that the future is bright, and all poop-related catastrophes have been contained.
Dear 35 Year Old Niki,
Hey, it’s me, 34 Year Old Niki. How’s it going? Have your Master’s Degree yet? Haha. Yeah, I thought you’d laugh (and then cry) at that.
Hope things are going well for you, obviously. At the very least, I hope you’re not still changing diapers. I also hope your husband is home from South Korea, that your marriage took no significant hits from the separation, that your eldest is transitioning into preteendome as smoothly as a girl that age can, and that your toddler is moving into preschooler territory without much protest – and by “protest” you know I really mean still pooping her pants. Or pooping in the bath tub. Or pooping on a hotel carpet (REMEMBER THAT?! Right after you’d signed that waiver saying you had no pets in the room).
I hope you found, or are in the process of finding, a job that isn’t soul-sucking, pays for more than just childcare expenses, and is even slightly interesting. Because (and this is just my year younger than you opinion here, but) I really think you need to get out of the house. However, if you’re still living in the same town (and it would be a miracle if you found a job at all in that town) I don’t fault you for staying home. I know I do.
How was turning 35, anyway? Did you sob naked in a bathtub? After taking stock of the effects time has wrought on your matronly body, and that face you should have been slathering Ponds upon, years ago? That would be a shame. Because, from my end of things, I’ve been doing my best to prepare you for middle age. And, yes, 35 is considered the commencement of middle age, according to the US Census. I looked that shit up. I’m busy mentally picturing the type of middle-aged woman you want to be, but I haven’t arrived at the image yet. I hope you do.
I also hope you’re still happy, because – though nothing is perfect – I am. I’m deeply grateful for the health and happiness of my children, my family, my friends, the strength of my marriage, and, however limited, the stability of our finances. And any time I want to kvetch that my boobs are less awesome or that I see the begining of jowls, I check-in with the reality of real world heartache – which can be found, en masse, around any domestic or international bend. I have a feeling, in the years to come, “healthy perspective” is going to be your very best friend.
Thus, I hope you’re graceful (in your old, tired, decrepit age). I hope this is the beginning of a new era for you. If, in letting go of youth, and those unrealized dreams, you let go of self-doubt and increase your own personal level of “what the hell”, and actually GO for things, that would be cool. Grabbing life by the ballsack has never been your thing – or even your purpose, I think. Your journey has been of a deeply personal, behind-the-scenes, under-the-hood sort. A quiet evolution of the soul. But, ball-grabbing aside, surely it’s time to give life a thuroughly serious titty twister.
Most of all, and most importantly, you’ve hibernated long enough: GET OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE.
Oh, and don’t start smoking again, either. Dummy.
With immensely selfish love,
34 Year Old Niki