Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A letter to my 32 year old self

Hi Sweetie,

Welcome to Monterey, CA.  You are going to have a blast here.  Thank you, Navy, for putting us up in this rockin' duplex at the top of the hill in La Mesa.  (fyi, boy this website makes it look so much different than it did when I lived there.  if you look at the map, my house was on revere rd.)  This is such a cute little (read, tiny) house.  I think it's great that you fit all our furniture in this house and I really don't care that you're using our kitchen table as an end table in the front room.  I think it looks just great like this.  We will eat in the kitchen on a tiny plastic table with our son, sitting in his high chair.  This is going to work out just great.  The kitchen is so little, you'll be able to wash the floor in five minutes with a cup of water.  You will LOVE it.

It's great to be here at Post Graduate school.  I'm happy the husband decided to get a master degree and not go to war with all his friends.  I know this is the kiss of death for his naval career, but you'll be glad to have him here with you and our 2 year old son.  It's cool to see old friends from Italy here, too.  It's too bad we will only be here a year and a half, but this is better than never have gotten to live here at all.

I know it was a bummer to get Bell's Palsy right after you got here.  I know it was a shame you had to miss your brother's wedding in Chicago.  Being sick and in pain isn't fun.  Good thing the pain only lasted for a month.  The five more months of paralysis sucked, but you'll get better and you'll hardly remember how crummy it was.  Good for you to get out and still make an effort to meet new people and start an Avon business with your face half frozen.  Wasn't it amazing to see how much of that stuff you sold.  You really put forth a lot of effort.  Good for you for not being so self-conscious and vain that you thought all that people cared about was how your face looked or how short your hair was.  Good for you for acting like an adult.  After all, you are 32 years old and the mom of a two year old.  It's good that you are able to get out and meet people and make friends.  You are doing the right thing by not waiting for your husband to get home and entertain you or take your child off your hands.  He's busy and he has homework.  Getting a master's degree in a year and a half is hard work.  This hard work is something he will be able to take with him when he leaves the navy.  You will be able to look back at this time of your life and remember how good it feels to be a strong woman.

You are going to love that you were supportive of your husband and his schoolwork.  It's great that he bought an Apple 2E computer.  It was worth all the money.  I know you had to eat popcorn and hot dogs for a month to make the payments for that computer and the Volvo.  (I'll bet you didn't know you were going to drive that Volvo for 17 years.)  But it was worth it to make sacrifices for your future.  It's good that you were able to put off your immediate gratification to save for your son's future and the future of your family.  (and, you learned to appreciate Apple and it's founder Steve Jobs.  that is really going to pay off in the future.)  You know, your husband is going to appreciate you typing all his papers for class.  Isn't it amazing that back then we wrote our papers in longhand and had to have someone read that chicken scratch and type it up!  I'm glad you put forth the effort to do this for your husband.  He's going to remember things like this when you need to take time for yourself.

Finally, I know that the earthquake you experienced was a terrible thing.  I know you were scared out of your mind because husband and son were away from the house.  I know those 15 seconds were the longest 15 seconds of your life, but you endured.  I know that seeing your husband come home on his bike and wondering what all the fuss was about was the happiest moment of your life.  And, I know that giving away any extra blankets or food or kitchen equipment or money or whatever you could give to help those who had more damage than your family never caused you to bat an eye or feel a pang of resentment.  I want you to know, that when that phone rang, and it was your mother, and you got the opportunity to tell her you were all ok and then the phone died and didn't start working again for a week, yeah, that was God.  (amazing how we managed before cell phones and email and the internet)  You are never going to forget that moment.  You know what you're going to remember the most?  You're going to remember getting all the families on the street together to bar-b-que, because none of us had electric or gas for a week.  You're going to remember, because you gave up most of your summer to do the HUGE vacation bible school music and program, so many of the families in the neighborhood knew you and were happy to help your family just the way you were happy to help their families.  You're going to remember how much this time in your life felt like community and the best way navy families support each other.

You will remember your time in Monterey, CA so fondly.  You are always going to wish you could go back.  But you know, you can never go home.  If you do get a chance to go back, just know, things have changed.  You will have changed, too.  Have fun at Cannery Row.  Enjoy the Monterey Bay Aquarium and watch the otters play.  Go down to Carmel by the Sea and Big Sur.  Check out the Dennis the Menace park and remember how much fun your little one had there.  Go down to Fisherman's Wharf and feed the sea lions.  Yeah, do all those things and remember that you didn't miss a beat while you were there.  You had the time of your young life.  I'm proud of you for being the strong, adult, navy wife you were back then.  You did yourself and your family proud.

Your 55 year old self

471.  Having the time to remember a fun time in my past
472.  Learning from different people with different points of view in my small group bible study
473.  Listening and being able to accept their positions without feeling like I have to change their opinions
474.  Realizing that this is emotional growth for me
475.  Seeing emotional growth in my son, too (or maybe I'm seeing him through more grown-up eyes)


  1. wow...sounds like that was a good age for you...its own bumps and challenges which seem to come with each age but sounds like good times...

  2. I can't believe it!  You had Bell's Palsy, too?  Isn't that the craziest affliction ever?

  3. Sounds awesome. My 30's have rocked (my 20's not so much), and I'm a little sad to watch them slip away.

  4. I don't know why this comment got removed, but this is the comment.

     Yes.  I didn't like it, not one little bit.  But, after 6 months I got
    better.  Now that my skin isn't as young as it was back then, you can
    tell (a little bit) I had it, but not too much.

  5. Oh - to be 32 again and know what I know now.  :) 

    I adored Monterey - my BIL was stationed at Fort Ord and I visited for two weeks.  Loved it and Carmel - the 17 mile drive.  All that.  

  6. Monterey is awesome, but I would not want to live in CA.  I am an East coaster for sure.  The wisdom I have now is something that I wish I had when I was 32. 


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