(Me @ age 21)
This is a letter from you, to you, exactly 10 years in the future on your birthday.
At age 20 you have already been through more in life experience than any other person in your same age group, that you know of. You were living out of your car for 3 months, got into serious mischief all of the time and nearly flunked out of college all before you are even old enough to drink alcohol. I hope you are prepared for what the rest of your 20’s have in store for you. It is difficult to admit but you are still dealing with the trauma from your parent’s divorce when you were just 16 years old and the only way you know how to cope with it is by allowing yourself to fall deeper and deeper into the party scene. This is a very difficult time to find your own identity and start to understand the person you want to become. You will still be trying to figure it out at age 30!
Throughout the next few years you will find a job you love at a museum and also make amazing friends that will help guide you through heartbreak, betrayal and share the happiest of memories. Sadly, there will be a horrible falling out and go your separate ways but do not ever forget the many lessons they taught you. This will be devastating and true loneliness will consume you but it will get better!
One night, while you are out dancing with friends at a local bar, an exotic and very dashing man will offer to buy you a drink. You will not be able to resist. Before you know it, the two of you will be dating for 2.5 years, despite the incredibly obvious age difference and the fact that he was COMPLETELY wrong for you in every possible way. You will choose to live with him for half of your relationship and he will abuse you physically, mentally and emotionally. There will be countless nights where you will cry yourself to sleep but you keep telling yourself that everything will work out in the end. Eventually, you will reflect back and realize that this person is the perfect example of everything you never want in a man. He treated you like a child, made you feel unloved, unworthy and always said you were never good enough. So, my young Aubrey, the end finally comes and you find the strength to leave him.
You will go through a time period of extreme loneliness but Amber, Katie, Alicia and Jennifer will be there to support you through it all.
Remember when you were flunking out of community college? Well at age 22 you will be given the most amazing opportunity to jump start your career while simultaneously completing your undergraduate degree at San Diego State University where you will be forced to take an internship that will change your life forever. Here you will meet a wildly hilarious and spontaneous woman named Sarah and, before you know it, you two become sisters. Her characteristics are almost identical to yours and the two of you will create some of the most amazing memories together. Eventually, you will be a bridesmaid in her wedding, cry uncontrollable tears of joy and this will be the most fun wedding you ever attend!
After 7.5 years in college, 2 full time jobs and 3 internships later, you will graduate and begin working for the UC San Diego. It is also during this time that you will be introduced to the world of Ultra-marathons by a man named John Vanderpot who will become your mentor and what you consider to be a Life Coach. It is through running that you will finally be able to cope with the trauma from your parent’s divorce and that awful relationship with that older man. It is on the trails where you will find your soul, truly reconnect with yourself and feel on top of the world; completely untouchable. You will feel like your entire life is finally coming together with your career in line, being in the best shape of your life and finding your true sense of self but there is still something missing.
One day, while you are running in the bottom of The Grand Canyon, you will think about a man named Steven Humphrey that you met a month prior at a professional networking event. It will not make sense to you at this moment in time but you will think about his smile, charm, firm handshake, gorgeous eyes and the fact that even though his jokes are silly, you cannot stop laughing whenever you are around him. A couple weeks later, he will take your hand in his and that is when you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with him. Steven is your missing piece.
At age 28, you will have a health crisis which will be the reason you and Steven create Paleo Trails. However, even before the idea of Paleo Trails comes into your mind, there will be 2 years of depression, sleepless nights and moments when you will contemplate taking your own life but Steven will be there to save you. He will hold you through the nights when you are so desperately confused that you do not know what else to do besides cry. He will be the one to help research ways to regain your health through diet & lifestyle. He will also embark on these changes so that you do not feel alone. He will advocate for you when others mock your choice to eat and live this way. He will stand up for you especially when you do not have the strength to stand up for yourself in front of your closest friends and family who pass judgement. It is through your health crisis and Steven’s love that this little tiny blog will be born.
You will be extremely anxious on the day that Paleo Trails goes live but if there is one major lesson learned in your 20’s, it is to be vulnerable and raw with your audience. You will get nothing from being a fake person other than more loneliness and confusion in life. People will hate on this little blog, but you will not care because it says more about them than you and your story will help millions of others beyond those few haters.
Aubs, take it from me, your 20’s will be f*ing tough but your heart will be so full with love, compassion, happiness and gratitude when you look back on everything. You will finally realize what true happiness feels like and there is no better gift than that. You owe it to yourself to be happy so keep taking life one step at a time and everything will work out in the end.
Aubs @ 30-years old