Follow Your Own Dreams

Years ago my granddaughter was what…enamored? in love? in lust?  I just re-discovered this letter I wrote to her. Does it work for you and yours?

Dear Granddaughter:

Thanks for sharing his letter.  I know that hearing from him means a lot to you.

Are you seeing what I’m seeing in his response to you?  That this is all very early and very conditional?  He is being honest and fair.  And I would think less of him had he not been straightforward.  But, my dear love, he is not ready to commit to a relationship.  He has said it in real words.  He just wants to hang out.

Are you willing to settle for just hooking up?

He’s also not interested in a long distance relationship. Does that mean that you won’t continue with your own life?   Does that mean that unless he is going back to college, you won’t go?  Should I be happy if he is returning to school so that you would want to go back to school, too?

Well, I wouldn’t be. I want to keep our communications open, but I have always promised to be honest with you

I have this kernel of dread in the pit of my stomach.  It is my fear that you are making all of your decisions with this relationship in mind. It’s my fear that you are changing your life for a “like” and “we’ll see what happens” relationship.  This may lead somewhere, but it is an iffy thing to pin your hopes on a man who acknowledges that he is still working his way through the last relationship.  It feels especially uncertain since you are just out of high school and he has already begun his life.

I agree that once you are in a mutually monogamous, mutually committed relationship with ANYONE, then your decisions must be tempered by what your partner wants and needs.  One hopes, then, that decisions are made based on true love and concern for each other. All of that might work if you weren’t on the first rung of the ladder to your future.  And this relationship is not mutual in commitment.  That’s why I want you to be self-directed and tending to your own needs.

You have been waffling, I know, about whether to take a gap year.  If you tell me that you are pursuing jobs because you want those jobs, would take the positions wherever they were available and would not be swayed by being near him; then I would be somewhat reassured.

My real hope, though, is that you change your mind and go to college.  If he truly cares for you he will want that for you.  If he knows you, he knows that you won’t be content without going forward with your own dreams. I doubt that you can be happy in life without more education.  You have dreams of making a difference in the world and I know how limiting it can be to lack an education.

I’m your poster child for falling in love at a young age.  I dropped out of my first year of college to get married.  I’m not complaining or regretting my life, but I realize that result of following my hormones instead of my life path was to adjust my hopes and dreams to match my decisions instead of having made my decisions to further my hopes and dreams.

I see the passion in you that reaches for your dreams.  I also know the passion that causes us to follow our twitching bodies toward someone we think will fulfill us.  Years of life have taught me that no one fulfills us.  It’s our job to fill ourselves.

Be who you are.  Gain strength within yourself.  And when it is time for a lasting relationship (with him or someone else), you will want to be in it but not need to be in it.  Your relationship will be a part of your life, but it won’t ask you to give up your life.

Oh well…I could go on and on.
Don’t hate me.  I love you.


August 1, 2010


  1. I can only guess at the letter that the man in the story has written from the little that you mention, but I am in total agreement with the tone and thrust of the message that you send. Had I been the one writing the letter I could not have done a better job. In fact, I intend stealing some of your thoughts for a communication that I will be sending to a young lad with a different kind of problem. Thank you.


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