To Lili, Age almost 19

Age 19

Hey Girl,

I read a letter you wrote to Davey not so long ago. I don’t know if you sent it, that it isn’t important. I was struck by how similar we still are. You already had a level of introspection that would surprise people. Right now you’re finishing your first year of university, you’re making plans to go to Turin, and it feels like the ground is moving in two separate directions. Everything is scary. I do not envy you. I really don’t.

I’m turing 25 in a few days, and I wanted to let you know that we’re not there yet. Home is still an abstract concept. I can’t describe what we do on a business card. Relationships just get worse. The reason I’m telling you this, is so that you’re a little kinder to yourself on the way here. You move so fast you’ve stopped enjoying where you are. And you’ve come so far that you feel stranded. You’re going to feel that way in six years too. It sucks, but maybe knowing that you’re not successful yet will relieve some of the burden you feel to prove yourself to the world. You’re driven, and I hope that never changes, but the way you define success has been perverted. You have a habit of modeling yourself after others, picking out qualities you admire and imitating them. It’s a vicious cycle. The more you change parts of yourself “for the better”, the less you’ll recognize that patchwork doll in the mirror, and you’ll just punish her for failing you. It’s only because you see the best in people that you feel like you’ll never measure up to them. But forget that. Measure yourself against me. Measure yourself against Lili, Age 16. Those are the only people you need to prove yourself to. And you’ll get there honey. You will. Just ask Lili, Age 33.

Your natural gifts and passions are enough. More than enough. Trust yourself, and be selective about the support you accept from others. Take the ladder, not the crutch. Be grateful for your moments. Take stock of what you have, not what you want. Above all, don’t think so much about the future. Let me worry about that.

You’re a firecracker kid. Enjoy it, and study your verbs.

Love Lili, Age almost 25

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