I have made it. Tomorrow, I will reach the age we used to think was the epitome of ancient. You have come further than you thought you would, and you are ‘behind schedule’ in other ways. That’s ok. Here is what you/I/we have learned so far.
Aslan is not safe. The things he asks you to feel, to walk through, to look at and to do are not safe. He is wild and you don’t always think you can cope with the wild journey he brings you on. But you can because he is good. You will learn this. And it will make you a little wilder.
You will come to know darkness in a way that you didn’t expect. Although it is tough, sit in it. Do not try to escape it. It’s worth it for how much brighter the light appears.
It’s also important because you have a responsibility to address the darkness and punch holes in it. The world is messed up. It will break your heart (and I’m not sure that will ever change.) You will learn that even little you has something to give in trying to make it a better place. Don’t shy away from this: identify what is wrong, identify what you can do to help, and do it. You have a patch it: work it. There are a lot of battles to be fought. Fight, hard.
Home is a strange concept for you. You might always feel most at home in an airplane, and that’s ok. Don’t worry when you don’t feel you have that place you can retreat to, or you aren’t sure what the fuss is about ‘sleeping in your own bed’: you were made for somewhere else and you can cope without a ‘home’.
You have a wonderfully exciting life. Don’t worry when you don’t know which path to choose: it always becomes clear. You are blessed with opportunities you never dreamed you’d have. When they arise, take them. Do the things that seem craziest and scariest: they are the best. Above all of these decisions and choices and opportunities, remember that life isn’t as much about what you do as it is about who you are and become.
Push yourself. You crave comfort, like most people. But push yourself. Get to know things, discover the world, ask questions, push doors, never stop learning – even when you aren’t sure why you are. This is something I am still working on.
Friendship is something to be invested in. Make time to cultivate it. You are so lucky to know the people you do and the friends you have are shaping who you are in more ways than you think.
Your family will walk through some difficult days, but you will stick together. This is what true community is. Your family will become your heroes.
You will change. Go with it. Moments, experiences, lessons, people: they change you. You are different, sometimes. That’s ok.
Not everything is black and white. That doesn’t sit well with you, but figure out what you will not budge on, stick to it, and try to be a little more open to the colour grey.
You have not treated your body in the way you should. You have tried to push it to be what it isn’t, and you have hurt it. You will learn, though perhaps never fully, that it is beautiful. Gemma, you can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. You can run and jump and reach and dance and bend. This vessel is valuable.
You are so lucky to be in the life you are. Wake up in the morning and thank God for it. Know also that with great blessing comes great responsibility. Life is short, and there is much to be done. Get to work.
P.S.: Red high heels were a great call. You will own several more pairs. Enjoy.