Patricia L. Fitzgerald 0000-00-00 00:00:00
It’s Gonna Be Fine Grammy award-winner Brad Paisley went to the top of the country music charts with “Letter to Me,” a song of advice sent through time from a successful artist, husband and father to his teenage self. It’s an interesting concept, one that I find myself contemplating more frequently as I slide deeper into middle age. In recent weeks, I’ve watched one good friend send her eldest child off to college, reeled with the shock of another friend’s sudden death, celebrated the joyful marriage of a third and spent several days visiting my mom, who still lives in my childhood home. Is it any wonder my mind keeps wandering down Memory Lane? But beyond the reflection of various “remember when…?” events, I keep conjuring up recollections of “who I was” and meditating on the different crossroads I have encountered that have led me to “who I am.” In many ways, my life is far different than I ever imagined when I left home and started my freshman year in college. I didn’t expect to be living in Washington, D.C., having twice!) made the surprising decision not to go to New York City, as I’d anticipated all through my teenage years. I didn’t expect my dream job would be editing an association magazine for K-12 school nutrition professionals, instead a glossy consumer publication. I didn’t think I’d visit Peru before Italy, that I’d be writing plays instead of performing them, that I would be president of my condominium’s first board of directors during a conversion process from rental units, that I’d be re-elected to the same position years later by a wide margin. But I did expect to be happy. To love my job and be good at it. To be surrounded by people I love and who love me. To be busy and engaged in activities that are both fun and rewarding. And I am. And that’s at the heart of what I would tell my 18-year-old self—and, if asked, the advice I’d pass along to my friends’ college freshman, grieving son and new step children. You can’t plot the course of your life, and no matter how carefully you strive to make the “right” decisions, there will be some regrets about the roads left untaken. Some bad things are likely to happen that are completely out of your control. But I do believe that if you follow your heart, stay true to your values and be open to new people and experiences, you can trust that it’s gonna turn out to be a wonderful life. I’m sure that many of you may have come to the same conclusions. After all, I can’t imagine that too many of you predicted as teenagers that one day you’d be reading this magazine as a member of an association for school nutrition professionals! What else would you tell your youthful self, if you could?
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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