April 13, 2015

Letter to a Decade Younger Me.


Dear So and So,

You might be surprised to hear but we’ve been living in NYC for the past seven years. Ten years ago (or a lifetime ago), we never really thought that would or could happen. But it did.

The road to where we are now was a little bit like when you fall and skin your knee and it smarts and stings and swells but starts to get better and then you fall again and tear off the scab and the puss and blood start again. It was like that, over and over, until one time we stumbled but didn’t fall, then the next time we tripped just a little and finally we stopped tripping and stumbling so much anymore.

And life kind of settled in around us.

I was so scared when I moved here. I bet you could feel that fear and uncertainly way back in the safety of our past. Sometimes I thought that I couldn’t possibly go on and that nothing would ever be easy again and money would just continue to flow from my hands as if from some open gaping wound that I caused myself when I accidentally (or maybe on purpose) jammed some scissors into my palm. But it did stop and things got better, easier even.

Know that getting here may have been one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. I was worried a lot of the time that I waited too late in life to move here, that I was too old to start at the bottom of the career heap again, that I could never traverse that ladder again. But I did. We did.

I got exactly what I wanted and nearly killed us in the process. Momentum is a strangely immense and stealthy force; you don’t realize how firmly you are in its grasp until you’re so completely entangled that it will take some sort of miracle or act of supreme destruction to free yourself. I did finally make it out, but not really out alive.

That vitality didn’t come untill a bit later and it’s still not quite all the way back. Each day is a little better and I feel more and more like the me we always were, not the me they wanted us to be.

There are a few things I can tell you about this journey. You probably already know them and once I say them you’ll realize you’ve known them for most of your life, or even more.

The first is that you cannot count on anyone but yourself. Really. Everyone is going to let you down. Everyone. They’re not going to do it on purpose, but they will do it. And it’s ok. Don’t be angry. You’re the only one who is ever going to help yourself and the only one that, when the chips are down and the zombies are coming, you can absolutely count on without question.

Two: trust your gut. Always.

Three: find the people who see you as you are and still like you. Stop spending time with people who make you uncomfortable. That’s a waste. Don’t go to parties if you don’t want to. Seek out people who you feel like you with. They are out there. And when you find them, take care of them the best you can.

Four: go for a run — it is and will always be your best of therapies. Don’t ever feel as if you need to explain or justify that to anyone. Just run.

Five: Travel. Don’t be afraid to go and get lost somewhere. You will meet amazing and inspirational people who will make you feel alive.

Six: Climb every mountain you find. On bike or on foot, doesn’t matter, but climb it.

Seven: Most importantly, stop loving people who take you for granted. I know it’s hard but try. Please. Walk away and don’t look back. And keep walking until you find a mountain, then climb it. And when you get to the top, I bet that person won’t be so very important any longer.

And finally, Eight: try to laugh more. We don’t laugh enough. Find someone who makes you laugh, guffaw, snort, spit your drink up. Find that person or persons and laugh your ass and face off as often as possible.



Author: Vanessa Nirode

Editor: Alli Sarazen

Photo: Flickr


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Vanessa Nirode