Hey! I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you during the summer before you turn 29 - things are going to be pretty great. In fact, I would almost venture to say that you got nearly everything you wanted. It looks a little different and you'll be surprised by some of the things you've found happiness in, but just go with it, because it will all start to make sense eventually.
You live in a city full of tall buildings. They aren't the tall buildings you thought you would be surrounded by, but you will come to love them as your very own. As every day goes by you will wonder if it would even be possible to walk away from them at this point.
You have a job that is hard. Its really hard. You're going to doubt yourself most of the time, but you'll also have moments of great pride in the fact that you have built the beginnings of a little career for you. And at this point, you are making it really easy to take one of seven or eight little roads in the future. Plus you make some decent dollars. Enough to splurg on absurdity like a Kate Spade wallet and a new computer.
And! You have another job that is also hard, practical and rewarding that pays some sweet dollars when you need them. And you're writing. For living. Margaret Atwood, you are not - but that college degree is offiially useful. Wow!
You own your very own cat. She is the best and so pretty. You only get a little bit mad that she refuses to poop in the litter box.
There are so many people you call your friends. There are so many smart and lovely women who act as sounding board and perennial cheerleaders. Men who prove that there are great guys out there. People who live far away, and literally one block away, who make your life richer for their experiences and beliefs. Sometimes you sit around and think about how amazing your social circle is and it makes you embarssingly emotional. You'll wonder if its weird to sit around and get teary about how lucky you are to know the people you know.
You get to call your family friends, too. You miss them all so much. You're grateful for the ones who live close and treasure the moments you get to spend with those further away.
The big dream that you have, it's still there, but its evolving to be a realistic version of it. This summer you will stand on stage and people will laugh because you do the thing that makes you the happiest. How awesome is that? You're doing it. You're finding happiness and bringing people joy. Win.
Bonus points? You can take classes at the Joffrey Ballet whenever you want. You don't, because now it's too accessible to be special, but with any luck - you'll take those new black ballet shoes for a spin sometime soon. Get it on, pretty ballerina.
Sometimes you'll forget that you actually live in your house. Its not a big game of playing house. It actually is your house. Your green dining room and yellow office. Your little garden and absurd closet. It's yours. Like a grown-up with a dream apartment.
And you get to live in it with your best friend. You will have no idea that this is coming. It will knock you sideways the summer before you turn 24. But you did and you're finding your way together. It is a constant changing experience of trying to figure out what you both need and want out of this life. Sometimes it easier. Sometimes it is the hardest thing ever. No one will believe in you more than he does - and realizing that will overwhelm you. Plus he accepts the fact that you are always gassy.
You've lived through some really terrible things. And you wish you hadn't. And sometimes you get just so. sad. But you will recognize their value as they help you recognize how important it is to be grateful for what you have been given to enjoy.
So 13 year-old Rachel, try to remember to enjoy this summer before you turn 29. Be tired sometimes because you spent too much time and too many brain cells on celebration. Save some money, but make sure you spend some on dresses and champagne. Have fun traveling, and with the new babies, and making Chicago summer memories.
Almost 29 year-old Rachel
ps - You will never get taller. Sorry.
pps - You still can't spell. Thankfully, in a couple years, there will be spellcheck on every device you use and no one will have to know.