I Want My Future Children to Read This Post…

13 Jan

One time I was reading an article in the classic Seventeen Magazine. For those of you who were never a teenage American girl, this magazine is full of cute accessory ideas, many ‘how to find out if your crush likes you’ posts, a dramatic feature about something like a girl who lost her fingers because she texted too much, & then maybe something with substance.

In this particular issue it was a letter that singer Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas had written. She wrote a letter to the 17-year-old version of herself. In this letter she comforted the teen, writing that all those little things she worried about would sort themselves out. She gave herself advice to stay confident & brave & to not worry so much about what people said about her because in the end she would have the last laugh.

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(Above:Today Fergie is successful, wealthy & married to the BEAUTIFUL Josh Duhamel. So yeah, things certainly did work out)

I wanted to try a similar experiment, but with a twist. I wanted to write this post to my future children.

Let this be a relic. A piece of writing that can span through generations. That can be read at all crucial times of one’s life & hopefully it will still make sense. I want this post to be read in high school, college & beyond. Because it will still resonate. & Someday we can laugh about it. Look back on how things actually played out. Recall what life really did have in store for us. But until then…

Dear Kids,

About 2 weeks ago, I turned 23. So far it feels no different than 22 except instead of a carefree Taylor Swift song my mantra is now a classic Blink-182 one informing me that no one will like me this year. Hopefully that’s not fully true (Go watch VH1′s ‘Classics of 2012′ to hear these songs, yes, your Mom & her friends loved them both!)

Although I’m realizing that I am now starting to do that thing adults do when they rush into thinking about the next year. I have actually caught myself saying: “Oh my God, next year I will be 24, & that’s almost 25 which is like AN ACTUAL ADULT.” Yes, at age 25 I vow to have my life somewhat together. To be able to cook more than just eggs/pasta/cereal, to be able to drive cars in cities (Which was a HUGE fear of mine at the time), & maybe learn to craft or something DIY. But most of all, at age 25 I vow to no longer chalk up all my mistakes to ‘but I just graduated from college so…’

But I guess we’ll get there when we get there.

Since making this move to Prague, something pretty spontaneous & in the moment, I never realized just how many times people would ask me about the future. It’s a little conversation that usually goes like this:

Them: “How long are you here for?”

Me: “Um, until June or July I think. I wanted to live a whole year here.”

Them: “Then what?”

Me: “Then I will go back home…”

Them: “Then what?”

Me: “Uh…I don’t know…?”

& I really don’t know.

Kids, for some people, an unknown future is the most terrifying thing in the world. They have their 5 or 10 year plan & want to follow it accordingly. But you know what Grammy G always says: ‘Man plans & God laughs.”

 2013 was certainly proof of that for me. I started the year a nervous college senior & ended it living in Europe, employed, & happy. Talkkk about a plot twist! But it just goes to show you that you never really know what lies just ahead.

When I go home, I have no idea what I will do. But I realize that the opportunities are endless. I obviously have to get a ‘job’ aka: some barely paid entry-level joke that makes me want to claw my eyes out while also working a waitressing job at night to afford those loans (you know those ones I am still paying now?) But I realize that the greatest gift one can have in this world is youth. 

Youth = freedom. It equals no real responsibilities holding you in one place for a long time. So after Prague, I plan to keep on moving. Because have you ever met anybody who said: “I traveled once, it was awful! Never doing that again. I prefer to live the rest of my existence at home, forever.” Nope. Everyone wants to get away. 

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& I realized: I like being away. I can survive away. I can learn new customs, new culture & adapt to them. Of course European culture is not the hardest to get used to–but it’s a good start. It’s what I wanted to get out of this whole thing. I wanted to prove that I could make it on my own. Through all the money woes & job drama & life obstacles I could find the courage to not hop on a plane to run back home. Because that’s giving up. That’s quitting. Plus that’s just silly. I’ve worked 5 whole months to build a life over here. I can’t just run back to the familiar every time the unknown ominously approaches. Because that’s no way to live a life.

Now I do have a few ideas about my near future, of course.

I want to live in Boston in a nice apartment enjoying the nightlife. I want to put my love for children to the test au pairing in Paris. I want to make some real money with my TEFL certificate teaching in Asia. Or Gillian (you know, Mom’s crazy friend she met in Prague when they had that insane boss together?) is moving somewhere new, so I may just join her.

Kids, the point is I don’t know what my future holds but I don’t have to. & You don’t have to either. Now I am not sure if you are reading this on the white sand beaches of some tropical island, or in some chic apartment in the 12me arrondissment, or in some traditional New England colonial with a big backyard, but know that life is a gift. & You should always treat it as such. Know that the universe will send you many opportunities & signs, telling you which way to go. I want you to notice them & seize them. That’s what I did (Remember when Mom told you about that nice man she met at Barnes & Noble who inspired her to move abroad?) & I couldn’t be happier.

Image(Above: I want you to find your international happy place, like I found mine)

I want you to be whatever you want to be when you grow up. & When that doesn’t work, know that you can still be something else too. I went to school for Journalism because I have always loved to write & I still do. But now I am currently a preschool teacher & work at something called a Pub Crawl (I will explain when you’re older…). The point is: you have many gifts, you have many skills & interests–don’t limit yourself to just one for the rest of your life. 

Kids, when you are old enough, I want you to know that I am going to do the same thing to you. I will send you abroad for a year. You can (mostly) choose the place but you will live & work there for a whole 12 months. & I will work my butt off to put money in your account & make sure you don’t skip too many meals, just like your grandparents & great grandparents did for me. You will laugh, you will cry, you will want to give up–but I will never let you. You will learn how to set up bank accounts & decipher public transportation & see the world from another perspective. I am going to make you jump off the deep end, but you will learn how to swim. It may seem like tough love, but know that it is love. Because you will come back afterwards a new person.

So as for right now, I am not stressing too much about the future. And you shouldn’t either. The huge math test of Friday? You pass. All those college applications? You will get in to the right one. Your boss giving you trouble about all those assignments? You quit & find someplace better. Is your Mom psychic? No, she just knows how life usually plays out–how it’s meant to.

The future is a scary thing, kids, but it’s inevitable. & Before you know it, it’s the past. It’s nothing to cry about or worry about because life goes on & you will too.

I love you,

JG 🙂

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8 Responses to “I Want My Future Children to Read This Post…”

  1. ronald stacy January 14, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    You are wise above your age. You are braver than I ever gave you credit for. And you damn sure know how to live and have a good time.

  2. Maureen Graves January 15, 2014 at 4:59 am #

    Wow, I see glimpses of maturity and motherhood…..Your blog is so so true. Giving your children the freedom to think outside of the box and giving them wings it the greatest gift you can give your children. To my daughter from her very proud mother “life is for living” you go girl.

    • jgravesss January 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks, Mom. I hope someday I am half the mother that you are. Love you!

  3. Robert Graves January 15, 2014 at 5:00 am #

    Jessi great blog..keep writing….it is a pleasure to read.
    Love Dad

  4. ronald stacy January 16, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    It is so true what you said. I cant believe how grown up you are. From that little girl who would mind me. So time out and dont let your feet touch the floor I love you Granmmy

    • jgravesss January 16, 2014 at 1:05 am #

      Love you too, Grammy! Miss you

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