Quick little story about myself as a child: when I was itty bitty, I didn’t know how to pronounce my maiden name (Hernandez), so when I was in school I always introduced myself as ‘Ashley Nanas’. It’s a name that I can’t seem to shake, no matter how much older I get…or how much better my personal annunciation has become. It’s funny to think about all of the ideas I had for myself at this age when I was just that little girl.
I guess I have failed you, Miss Nanas, but don’t fret. The future is sweeter than anything you can come up with during your game of House. Ah, yes, no mansion or Range Rover yet; still heading off to work routinely only to come up short of the million dollar checks you assumed you’d have. Now, GET THIS: one day you’re going to wake up and realize that you never actually needed any of that to be happy, anyway. Scary, right? Well, maybe you’ll still need the car, but you’ve got an entire life to build up to that. Nope, what you actually needed came in forms you could have never imagined at all- the same nutty family, two wild pups, and your newest life partner….brace yourself for this whammy: HE’S ONE OF CHRIS’ FRIENDS. AH, HELP US!!
Over the coming years, you will have planted your roots deep in your foundation- you are strong. Your branches have begun spiraling out in every direction- you are passionate. Your leaves are like new goals/ideas/hobbies, staying for a season and not always being seen through- you are curious (sometimes, easily bored). Although at times you are bare, you always remain grounded. You are always reminded of where you came from and how tall- or far– you’ve gotten.
Life isn’t always what you expect, nor is it always what you necessarily want, but you can find serenity in that fact that you will make it through. My biggest advice for this year of our life is: DON’T WAIT. Don’t wait until you’re financially secure to do the things you’ve always wanted. Don’t wait for people to fulfill their promises. Don’t wait for another’s approval. Don’t wait for someone to care about you as much as you care about them. Don’t wait until you lose something to realize what you have. Don’t wait to pursue your dreams, whatever they might be. Don’t wait for the right time- it never comes. Don’t wait to tell people how you really feel. Don’t wait to love yourself. Don’t wait to be happy. Your time on this Earth is short and it’s precious. Stop waiting. One day you’ll wake up, a twenty-three year old wife, mother of two, exploding with love and creativity, surrounded by the best people you don’t deserve, filled with empathy and experiences you’ve gathered from all of the different chapters in your life and throughout the world you’ve trekked and although all of that is precious and fortunate in itself, you’ll still find yourself waiting for the next big highlight. Some of our most precious memories come from our small moments…those that we overlook. Don’t wait to cherish every single breath you’ve been lucky enough to take.
Happy birthday, young one. You’ve got so much to look forward to.