Ten years ago it was 2005. It seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? Ten years ago, I was 28, almost 29, on the verge of entering my 30s. I’d finished my first full year of my doctoral program, and I didn’t know it, but I was getting ready to experience life changing events. Ten years ago so very many things were set in motion.
This month, Sweet Husband and I will celebrate our 3rd anniversary, which is a very important event in my life. In June, I’ll celebrate another anniversary which made my wedding anniversary possible.
In June of 2005, I began an internship at the South Mississippi Writing Project (SMWP), which is where I met my mother-in-law and we first became friends. When I met my future mother-in-law, she walked up to me and said, “I was always supposed to have a red-headed daughter named Jennifer; I just didn’t know it was going to take you this long to show up. You have to come meet my sons; I don’t care which one.”
It feels like everything started 10 years ago…which is not to say that there weren’t some incredibly difficult moments – including Hurricane Katrina, moving to Kentucky, adjusting to new realities. But a run of good luck or good things began in 2005. Sometimes I got it right. Sometimes I got it incredibly wrong. Lots and lots of adventures. Quite a few missteps. Each move getting me closer to where I needed to be, every choice the one I was supposed to me.
If I could go back and talk to my 2005 self, I think I’d say these things:
There is beauty in this journey. Enjoy it for what it is and what it is not.
Don’t hang on longer than you should but don’t give up at the first sign of difficulty.
Learn to trust yourself because you’ve yet to really be wrong when it matters.
Have fun. Don’t let your fear keep you from doing things. You’re really good at going anyway and sometimes you don’t make the best choices because you’re trying to be brave – but go and do.
Don’t take your piercings out for a job. It’s a sign. If you can’t be you, you aren’t going to be happy.
Pay attention to money. Learn how to get over your issues with it because you’ll be happier in the long-run if you make peace with it.
That whole photography thing that people think you’re just playing at? Get serious about it. You’re decent. You’ll be better once you really know what you’re doing. Use some of those free hours you get for being a GA to take some photography classes; I think you’ll find them ultimately much more useful than the research classes you filled up on.
Did I mention that bit about trust yourself? Do that.
And don’t be so eager to please. That unfortunately DOES steer you wrong. You deserve more; don’t settle for less.
Have faith. Everything you never dreamed of is coming. That doesn’t mean that it will be easy (because you like to make things difficult), but have faith. Amazing things are in your future.
I think those are the big things for me. What about you? What would you say to past you to help prepare you for future you?
While you’re here, don’t forget to check out my Thanksgiving Give-Away!