Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Dear twentysomething . . .
I was asked recently to contribute to a series of letters written by writers to their younger selves (and their younger brethren everywhere.) Here's what I had to say.
Maybe these aren’t the best years of your life. Maybe you miss college, the hug of a dorm room, the hush of a library. Maybe your obnoxious, preening professors don’t seem nearly as dangerous as your stupid, scheming bosses. Maybe you know too many people who have more money in the bank and more clothes in their closet and more stamps on their passport than you do.
Maybe you are walking a tightrope. That thin moon that hangs between being a self-starter and a go-getter. Being a lot of fun and being a bit too much. Between being ready and being there already.
The thirties await you on the other side, with all the shiny gifts and promises they seem to bring.
But know this.
You are the age when you are always lit from within.
Older people see it like a golden lamp when you walk into a dark room, your skin still plump like a baby’s. Your source of energy now, if you don’t mute it, is endless.
Strip away the cocktails and the Red Bulls, the all-nighters at the office. Walk past the 24-hour carbohydrate palaces, and lay down on a pillow with a flannel case you washed yourself. Rest. Heat up some soup. Listen to the music people make fun of you for liking. Build an altar of your favorite books, a toy, a card your grandmother gave you.
These are not the years to burn up and grind down. To scratch or claw or pound.
These are the light years. The weightless ones, the lily-pad days.
I won’t say enjoy them; everyone says that, no one listens.
I will say: Use them. Use them not to move and jostle and scheme. Use them to be still enough to learn what you truly want.
Read the whole series of “Dear Twentysomething” letters all this month, on Melanie Goodman’s book blog, reclusivebibliophile.com.