10 Years Later

Dear Fina,

It’s been ten years since you graduated from high school. Your life hasn’t always been ideal, easy doesn’t describe it, but you’ve sure turned out alright. I know you felt that way when you went to your reunion this weekend. Seeing people who you hardly talk to and answering questions about life isn’t exactly fun, is it? But you survived, my dear. And you held it all together when the seams were frayed.

I know there are days that you struggle to remember who you used to be: the girl with the million dollar smile. I know it’s harder to say ‘you’ve grown’ than to look at the mistakes you’ve made and say, “you should have grown more,” but you’re getting better at avoiding the negative self-talk. In fact, I’m really proud of you.

I know sometimes you want to rewind and do it over again. Maybe you would have kissed Granny one more time, or fought a little harder for better grades in school. But mostly, over the last few months, you’ve allowed yourself to see that part of living is making mistakes, having regrets, and choosing to change the future because you don’t want to relive the past.

It’s okay that you told your classmates that you were single because you wanted to be. It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. And, truth be told, you like having your freedom. So don’t feel like a liar because you didn’t tell them about Mike, and your resolve to stay single until you find a man that makes the risk of pain seem worth it. They don’t really need to know that information. You gave them what they needed: a glimpse at the life of one of the most fortunate people to walk across that stage in 2001. You believe in yourself again.  You fought to get here. You fought hard too. Nobody is taking that away from you.

It’s funny to look back and think, “Why the hell did I even dream that’s where I’d be?” I wonder if you’ll do that again next time. I hope so. I think life is far more fun when it’s not premeditated. You learn more that way. Don’t forget that when you start thinking about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’.

You survived your reunion with grace and love. That’s all that matters.

I love you,




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