Friday, January 27, 2017

Letter To My Younger Self, Part II by Betsy Ashton

Dear Betsy,

Time to return to my letter to you and close out with some final thoughts on what you will experience.

You will endure trials you can't imagine. You will be physically attacked when you are a teacher. You will not let that stop you. You will fight back, not slink into darkness. You will report the attacker. When you are not satisfied with what the campus police are willing to do, you will go the the city police and to a city emergency room for tests. You will go to the coach of the man who attacked you and report his actions. You will show proof to back up your accusation. You will feel compensated when the man is thrown out of school (after a big game, which the team lost). You will realize that there is a god with a sense of justice when, years later, you Google his name and find he's been in prison for decades for the same crime you initially reported.

You will travel all over the United States, particularly in the West where you will visit nearly every National Park west of the Mississippi. You will travel and live in Japan, where you will learn what it is like to be a minority in a majority country, where people think nothing of following you on the street and comment on how tall you are and how long your hair is. You will not let them know you understand every word they say. You want to, but you know that it would be considered rude. And you don't want to be rude.

You will travel with your husband to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, where you will continue to fall in love with him and with the beauty of the different countries. You will learn that traveling on the back of a motorcycle is immediate and sensory-overwhelming. You will visit every state east of the Mississippi on the motorcycle, and most of Eastern Canada as well.

You will achieve successes. You will find careers that let you live the way you want. You will enjoy your work, earn a fairly decent amount of money, and will retire to follow your heart's desire. You will become a full-time writer and produce the books you love to write.

You will find ways to share your thoughts and words with strangers through blogs like this, through social media, through your own blog. You may never be a best-selling author but you will not let that stop you from putting the next words on paper.

You will learn to live in the moment, will study yoga and Buddhism, will find walking meditation one of the best ways to relax. You will learn to let go of the negative, but it will be a daily battle for your entire life. Still, you will not give up the battle.

You will define success through your family and friends. You will realize that little matters as much as those who are close to you, who support you, who love you. You will love and lose some close to you, find that family members long lost have passed without you noticing. You will grieve for those who pass who remained close and understand that those who left you behind did so for their own selfish reasons, not because of you.

You will survive. You will survive well, by staying positive, by reaching out a hand to a stranger, by blowing kisses and leaving smiles in your wake.

Know that I will be with you every step on this journey. Enjoy it. It's the only journey you have in this life. You may have others, but you can only enjoy the present journey.

Love always,

An older, wiser you


Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

A lovely letter full of beautiful wisdom. Live in the moment. For me, the moment today will be watching my grandson wrestle for MIT. #ToughNerds

Diane Burton said...

A beautiful letter, Betsy. What an amazing life you've led. Living in the moment is such great advice. Enjoy the journey.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Ditto. What a beautiful life and more to come!

Jannine Gallant said...

If we can all learn from our mistakes and victories, then we've lived well. Great post, Betsy!

Rolynn Anderson said...

The song 'I Did It My Way' comes to mind, as does an assignment I used to give my write their own obituary (having died at early deaths or short obits allowed :-). Sounds like you established firm principles early on and lived by them, Betsy. Mush on!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Well said, Betsy. Well said. Congratulations on the life you've led.

Andrea Downing said...

Brad Paisley has a song , A Letter to Me, where he writes to his seventeen year old self. I wonder, though, would you want to know exactly what lay ahead? I see a lot of parallels in our lives, attacked by a student, Nigeria instead of the Far East but with similar experiences, national parks, and so on. I think we've both taken the good with the bad and come out on top. Lovely, wise post, Betsy, thanks.

Leah St. James said...

What a lovely message, Betsy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Alicia Dean said...

Beautiful! What an excellent idea and a cathartic experience that must have been Well done!