I was recently surprised to receive a six inch high bundle of letters and cards that took me on a reflective journey. The bundle was sent to me by my uncle and the cards and letters were the messages that I had sent to him over the years. He is in his late 70's and, as he said, he is going through stuff. I was amazed to learn that he had saved all those letters and touched that he thought to send them back to me, all bundled up and ready for discoveries.
The earliest one appeared to have been sent in 1962, making me 9 years old. Funny to read it and see my "best guess" spelling! What! You mean I didn't always know how to spell? There are one or two from high school but the majority of the letters were sent while I was in my twenties. Through my thirties and forties I sent him one or two a year - mostly chatty updates about how the kids are doing.
The most interesting collection came from that twenties decade. While reading through them, I was struck by how much has changed and how much remains the same. That was a tumultuous decade for me, beginning with a confusing marriage that turned into a messy life and ended with a wrenching divorce. But talk about discovery! That's when I found out who I COULD be.
The decade played out with travel, education, a developing career path, a grand assortment of new friends and new connections and ended as it had begun: marriage at 29! And, even though my path was convoluted, the cards and letters demonstrate that I was forever and always wanting to examine it. Ah, some things never change! And, even in my 20's, I was lonely and reflective while still pushing ahead with new challenges, willing to put myself out there and see what happened.
In reading the correspondence, I meet a trusting, bright eyed, change the world sort of girl (and she was a girl). There's the everything changes part. The girl is now a grown up, an adult - no matter how much she wants to still be a girl. She's not so trusting although the bright eyes can still be seen when she is engaged in biking, painting, or uncontrollable laughter with friends. She does still welcome new challenges, hopes for surprises, and knows she can only change the world one tiny moment at a time. Life is more realistic and responsible now, kinda deflating, but she is much MUCH stronger. She can hold up anything that needs to supported and knows enough not to worry too much about her future. It will be what it will be and she will survive (or not).