My Letters

Dear Millennial: You Need to Learn to Settle

Dear Millennial,

This is going to come off pretty blunt, but you need to learn how to settle. As a millennial myself, I’ve been fed the same bullshit and lies since I was a child and it honestly feels like I’ve just started realizing it’s all a big lie. Will this whole letter come off bitter and belligerent? Yes, but you should listen anyways.

I’ve read a lot about why our generation is failing. Why we drop out of programs, why our depression and anxiety rates are through the roof, and I think I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s because we don’t know how to settle.

For the record. I don’t mean settle on a career or a partner or whatever that will leave you miserable. I mean choose the option that is logical, that may be more comfortable and reliable than it is “fun”.

We’re told from the time we’re little that the sky is our limit, that we should follow our dreams and settle for nothing less than perfection, but that’s all wrong. I don’t think you’re meant to grow up working every day doing what you love. We tell kids that like to draw that they should thrive to be artists, to purse liberal arts degrees and to not pay attention to the piles and piles of statistics telling them that they will not get a career, that they will not make any money because they are the special little star, and as long as they *believe* in themselves nothing will go wrong. Well I’m here to tell you that things will go wrong. I mean, of course not for everyone, I’m not horribly pessimistic, the truth of the matter is that there are some exceptions, but most likely, you are not one of them.

The thing is. Starting school when you’re 3 to 4 years old has some major disadvantages. It puts all your self worth on numbers, on marks. It makes you feel like grades and report cards are the only type of validation that matter. Being out of school for over a year now has been tough at times, because I don’t have a sheet of paper telling me if what I’m doing is right or not, and when the time comes neither will you.

I’ve written paragraph after paragraph of depressing shit and deleted it all because you don’t need to hear it. All you need to hear is that you need to learn how to settle, or at least slow down until you can rightfully come upon the results you’re waiting for.

We live in a time where every thing is instant, and what we want, or better yet, what we feel like we deserve, is fast and positive results but truthfully life isn’t like that. Decisions are hard and take time and we no longer take the time that is needed and that’s why we’re depressed. We go to school for things that aren’t practical because we never took the step back to think “hey, maybe I can’t actually do that and maybe it’s not so smart after all.” We’re rushed to figure out our whole lives at 17 years old, while forcefully being told that we can do it all, and we can’t. We’re thrown off our graduation stage into the real world and the pressure becomes too much and we crack. We change our mind and we flunk out and then we resent ourselves for giving up or not succeeding because we’re shining stars and we should have been able to do anything, we should have never burned out. We were never taught how to process failure, just how to accept inevitable success.

At first, I viewed this past year as my biggest failure yet. I finished school and after realizing that I no longer saw myself pursing a career in my given certificate, I gave up applying to related positions. I’ve spent over a year working at McDonald’s fighting promotions because I didn’t want to get too comfortable. I became horribly depressed, anxious, hopeless and frankly suicidal. I thought I was a shining star. I thought I was the exception. I though I’d finish school young, get working in a “real” career and everything else would just fall into place, but none of that happened. It’s been a long year, filled with lots of personal disappointments, but all lots of triumphs too. The biggest of all of them being that I learnt how to settle. I’m not working at McDonald’s because I’m waiting for my big career debut, but because I learnt to accept that this is my life right now. That I don’t know what my next step is, so for now, I’m just going to come to terms with the reality of my life; I’m a fast food worker who dropped out of university because she wanted to be a mum, not a student for 12 years. I’m a girl who gave up on her college certified career option because I grew tired of it before I even began, because I made a mistake going to school for something I knew nothing about. I’m a girl who is still figuring stuff out every day.

It took me a long time to realize that I don’t deserve opportunities, that none of us do. That the people who are successful, who are in school or working in careers that they are good at is because they try hard to do so. They may not be passionate about what they are doing, but they may love that they’re good at it. I think that’s important.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Be humble. Your education or current life standing is no better or worse than anyone else’s. The frame of mind you hold about your situation is the only thing that matters. Pursue a purpose, not a passion. You may love drawing, but doing it every day as a career isn’t going to keep your passion any more alive than if you did it in your spare time out side of work hours. Be logical and patient. Take the time you need to think. Don’t rush into things like a secondary school program, or a new city to live in. It may take you a while to realize what you really want to do and that’s ok. It’s not until you’ve messed everything up that you realize there really isn’t any rush to get things right, because you may very well never get it all right.

And that’s ok too, because it’s all a part of the process, and hopefully, you’ve learnt to accept and settle with your present.

Love always,
Kate (your not so shiny star)

 

 

 

 

 

Dear High School Kate: What I Know Now

Hello Kate,

Or I guess I should call you Katie, because that’s what you’re going by right now. This is you, at 20 years old. I wanted to share some “words of wisdom”, that I’ve gained in my 3 years since leaving home.

I know that you think New Liskeard sucks, but please try and appreciate the good that is under all that absolute crap. I know that your friends like to binge drink and flirt with your ex’s, I know that it will be hard to separate yourself from that, but once you do you’ll be left with two of the best friends that you have, and they’ll still be in your life today. But don’t forget to appreciate those other friends while you can. They’ve held you while you cried and made you laugh until you couldn’t breath. You have differences, but don’t forget to appreciate all your similarities while you can.

I know that sometimes it feels like you can’t relate to anyone in that town, but there are countless people who are in the exact same position as you. Waiting to get out to move to bigger cities and meet more open minded people. You’ll do it eventually. You’ll meet some of the most amazing people in your first year of Uni. They’ll be the type of friends you wanted all of high school. They play in a band, they try hard in school, they know how to have fun without puking at the end of the night. It’s a literal dream come true, hold out for that because you have so many good times coming.

Cherish the time you have with your family. You will never be a two minute walk from your grandma’s again, or a two second walk to your sisters bedroom. You won’t be able to sit down and eat with your family whenever you want, or lounge around with them watching tv. These daily activities you take for granted will be the things you miss the most when you’re off living on your own. I know you’re getting older, and sometimes you think your family doesn’t understand you, but I promise you they understand more than you give them credit for. You will go through so much shit in the next couple years, and they will be there for you more than anyone else. Laugh with your sister as much and as often as you can, because in your first year of Uni you’ll feel like something is missing inside, and it will take you a while, but it was laughter, the laughter you used to share with your sister every day when getting ready for school, or while hanging out together at night.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough. I know you’re sleeping on average 4-5 hours a night, going to school for 7 hours and working 4. Change this! Nothing is as important as sleep. Turn off your phone, shut your laptop, say good night to who ever you’re talking to, and GO TO SLEEP. School will not be as painful, work will go by quicker, your general attitude will be better. Please, just go to fucking sleep.

On the topic of help… there is NO shame in getting help. This is something you will struggle with to this day. Yes, you are most likely depressed, and that’s ok. Googling the symptoms of depression and trying to diagnose yourself isn’t enough. Crying every day isn’t normal. Your mum isn’t ignoring your crying, she just doesn’t know what to do. Talk to some one! Your school has a counsellor, there are help lines, your aunt is a mental health worker – just reach out. You are not crazy, you are not broken, you are not over reacting, you are not just emotional – you are perfectly normal, you’re just clinically sad and there are ways to feel better again. Time doesn’t have to be your only medicine.

Stay young little girl. I know that right now you’re going through so much shit that you don’t deserve to be going through. But at 20 years old, you feel 35, and I know that at 16 you are feeling so much older than you are already. I know that you’re being forced to deal with issues far beyond your years but are not yet old enough or mature enough to know how to properly deal with them. Here is my best advice: there is no shame in cutting people out of your life that don’t deserve to be there. Even if they’re blood. Actually, especially if they’re blood. You know who I’m talking about. They aren’t in your life now, they haven’t been for months. I know that at 16 you think they’re just going through something and that it’s something you can fix, but it’s not. They’re a grown up and you’re a child and none of this is your fault or your problem to fix. Your biggest worries should be school and how you’re going to spend your weekend, that’s it.

Before I go, here are my last few pieces of advice: save some money, hug your family more often, consider college, smile whenever possible, listen to more music, drive more carefully, get an iPhone instead of a blackberry, start exercising now, don’t give up soccer, take science classes, you don’t need to lose weight, love yourself endlessly – being confident isn’t cocky, start writing down your thoughts, bottle up your laughter, take more photos, be proud of the things you’re good at, STOP OVER THINKING EVERYTHING.

I promise that everything will be ok even when it feels like things couldn’t possibly turn around. When you feel like you can’t possibly make it through the day, remember that your track record for getting through a bad day is 100%, and that’s pretty damn good.

Love always,
20-year-old Kate (Katie)

 

Dear Future Husband: Some Things I Need You To Know

Hello Love,

I don’t know you yet, or perhaps I do. Maybe we’ve passed each other on the streets, or quickly exchanges glances on the bus. I feel like if I already met you I would know, you know?

I honestly can’t wait to meet you. I hope we have some typical rom-com meeting, like in a coffee shop, or on a blind date. Maybe not a blind date, I hear those don’t usually work out in real life. It’s funny to know that you’re out there, somewhere, living your life completely oblivious to the fact that one day we’ll be married. Maybe you’re dating someone right now, or maybe you’re going through a break-up and all you’re thinking is “fuck love, I’m never doing this again”, but you will, you’ll do it again with me. I hope for your sake that you’re happy and doing well.

I hope you’re taking care of yourself and enjoying life. If you’re in school, I hope that your classes are stimulating and that you’re on your way to a career that one day I’ll hear you ramble on about over and over. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for that. I can’t wait to hear you passionately speak about the beautiful crown moulding you installed in a new house, or the code you finally figured out.

I already know how I’ll know you’re “the one”. I have this terrible habit, and if you married to me then I’m sure you’ve figured it out. I ask a lot of questions, endless questions really. I will constantly want to know what’s on your mind, what you did that day, how you’re feeling, what you think about the weather and so many more questions that it may surprise you how I’m actually able to preform daily activities with so much going on in my noggin. But you’re different from everyone else I’ve dated. You answer the questions. You tell me in length about how you were thinking about how the sun comes through our bedroom window at 4pm and how you can see the dust dancing in the sunlight. You’ll tell me everything you ate that day because you know I genuinely care. And if I’m lucky, maybe you’ll return some of the questions, and care about my answers too.

I know I won’t make a lot of money, and I’m ok if you don’t either. I’m currently in school for Event Management, and I really love it. I’m sure you’ll hear me talk about it a lot, especially how I’m an “Event Coordinator” and not a “party planner”, and how it ticks me off when people get it wrong haha.

Some days I get so eager to meet you. I just wish you could stumble into my life and sweep me off my feet. But I have to keep reminding myself that good things are worth waiting for and that there’s a reason I haven’t met you yet. I don’t really believe in a God that has a plan for me or anything like that, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe right now we’re not at the place in our lives where we’d be compatible if we met. Maybe I’m not happy enough with myself yet, and maybe you just got fired and you’re focusing on your career right now. Whatever it may be, I think there’s a reason we haven’t been acquainted yet.

This is getting long, but I guess if we’re married you also know I never shut up. I’ll just finish by saying that I wish you well until the day we finally meet. I hope your life is full of delicious meals, good music and lovely sleeps. I look forward to experiencing so many things with you by my side.

I love you.

Sincerely,

Your wife, Kate xx