Letter to Emily: My Future Self, 20 Years On
Dearest Emily….how weird it is to be writing to you in the future, but there are so many hopes and dreams I have for you. You are 49 now. Today is November 14, 2012 and I am feeling so happy right now thinking of the next twenty years and what wonderful things will happen on your life’s journey toward becoming a wise, mature woman of 70. May your path have few bumps in it and may the turns in the road always be clear. I hope your path never becomes foggy, so foggy you have to stop because you can’t continue on.
Right now, as a woman on the cusp of turning 50, I know I am no where near as wise as I will be and certainly not in any position to be giving out life advise to a much older person. All I can do is write to you, Emily, and convey my wishes and hopes for your future the way I see them now at this ‘young’ age. When you think of being old, immediately poor health, achy joints and fading beauty come to mind. Aging doesn’t have to be that way, even though to some extent some of those things are inevitable. In an effort to ward off those maladies, take care of your health now, by seeing the doctor regularly, have yearly tests done, eat healthy and take supplements to further increase the probability of staying healthy. Exercise is your number one nemesis right now, but you’re learning to think of it as a friend; and your heart has conveyed to you in the form of palpitations that it loves exercise. When you get active, your heart beats completely normally. If that isn’t a hint from your heart to get moving, I don’t know what is. So, just go along with it, it knows best. Get walking and vow to be as active as you can. Right now you have very sore knees. I can only imagine that by the time you are 70, you will probably have gotten knee replacements and if so, I hope you start running. That would be awesome! As far as beauty goes, I believe you have inherited excellent aging genes since most people think you are younger than you look. Part of that is attributed to the fact you wear sunblock daily and stay out of the sun as much as you can in the summer. All you can do is try. Blueberries-Yes, blueberries are fabulous and by eating them by the handful daily will help you stay young looking and healthy.
In the next twenty years so much can happen. We will lose people in our lives due to death or estrangement. Be kind and giving, but do not tolerate people who make your life miserable, or those who have nothing but negativity to offer you. Whatever happens, I hope you can endure it and carry on with life because, after all, that is for best. Be sure to live each day being happy to be alive and to carve out joy from life doing the things that make you happiest. It’s so important to have something that we love besides people. Hobbies, reading, art, and exercise not to mention a dog are wonderful ways to cultivate joy when we are older and find ourselves with less people around us. I hope your family is there for you, available to you and holds you dear until the day you die. My wish is that your children will look forward to seeing you and want to spend time with you-that you can somehow continue to contribute something positive and memorable to your children as well as your grand kids. My hope is you won’t become a ditzy old lady who is a burden, but instead one who stays stay sharp and interesting and will grow wise beyond her years. Be that beautiful old woman with a long white braid that everyone wants to be around.
May art always be your love, and your joy. When I think of you getting older, I see you with paint on your hands sitting at an easel, creating large, colorful canvases. I hope you get that studio of your dreams and are able to paint daily. But paint for you, not for anyone else. Just you. Don’t let anyone’s opinions of what your doing bring you down. Remember the quote by Andy Warhol,
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
If you paint on a consistent basis and get yourself out there, there will be people who love your work and will want some of it for themselves. You will do this, I know it. And, anyway, how cool is it for your grandchildren to have a grandma who paints cool pictures? Never stop reading,even though the prescription on your Progressives may get stronger. Write. I hope to see you blogging well into your seventies, because you have so much to say to the people out there. Don’t fall into an ‘old lady’ rut-be the modern, hip old woman you really want to be. Evolve into a juicy crone-that mature woman who’s alive and flowing with life. Keep up with what’s going on in the world and for goodness sakes, Em, don’t become a fuddy-duddy. That falls into the slot of ditzy and remember, we don’t want you to end up anywhere in that category.
I see you travelling to Paris and New York City for extended stays. Get yourself a little apartment in your favorite city, so you can bring back your family and friends to share with you the places you love the most. I hope you can travel to art retreats, and exotic places. Enjoy your girlfriends and make time for them always. They will be your safe harbor when all others fail you. In return, be that reliable, loving source of sanctuary for them.
Live simply, and with intention. Don’t accumulate a lot of stuff that one day your kids are going to have to deal with . Surround yourself with just what you need to be comfortable. You want life to be simple so you don’t have to spend precious time shoveling and shuffling your crap from one corner to the next. You want your home to be a haven that is easy to take care of so you can get on with the more important things in life like art, friends and family.
I hope you can always have a loving closeness with your husband, or fall in love again some day. Love keeps us young and alive. When it goes stale or becomes non existent, it can become a drying up factor in our lives. Seek out love and make it yours. Become more spiritual as time goes by. Pray. Seek answers. Never lose your faith because there has to be something beyond this beautiful, mysterious world we live in. Work on your feeding your soul with creativity, beauty, love and the Spirit.
Seventy is young and I know you will arrive there ready, willing and able. How wonderful to have reached this age! I wish your life to be long and full of love, friendship, faith and family. I wish you happy holidays full of tradition and new family members. Don’t be afraid of changing. I want you to be happy, on a very basic level. I know with old age can come set backs, but don’t let them get the best of you. Live life to it’s fullest, drink it dry and then only then will you be ready to leave this life as a legacy of a woman who lived her life artfully, was like sunshine to those she met, practiced kindness and left a lasting impression on everyone she came in contact with. I hope they say to themselves, “I want to be like her.”
Here’s to the next twenty years and beyond. I’ll see you there.