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Dear Lori of the 1995 variety-

Greetings from 2016. I'm you. A different version of you, but you nonetheless. As always and often, letters start out kind of awkward. You will be happy to know that part has not changed. We are still as awkward as ever. You know what? That's okay. Let me tell you about a few more things that I have learned along this crazy thing called life.

1). You are still listening to much of the same music now that you did then. Seriously, music hasn't really gotten much better since the golden era of the '90's that you love so much. Play it safe. Stick to the classics. Here are some helpful tools to navigate the barren wasteland of the 2016 music terrain: Spotify and iTunes. You will thank me later.

2). Everything is becoming abbreviated and people are slowly losing their ability to speak or write complete sentences. If someone says "BRB", refrain from asking what it means. It's a trap. Once you start down the slippery slope of abbreviated words, it will be a nearly impossible climb back up to the land of decent grammar. Take the detour around that one.

3). The Internet. We have come a long way from "Oregon Trail" Friday
on the good ole Apple IIe. You can search for everything anytime,
anyplace on "smartphones". iPads are flat computers that you can take
anywhere. It helps people stay connected. However, there is still nothing
better than coffee with a friend in person and genuine conversation. Don't trade in genuine connection for instant gratification. It's a terrible trade. People are more important, and friendship is worth all of the work you put into it. Yes, you drink coffee now. You should drink less. Get on that.

4). Relationships are hard. It's still hard now, but you are getting better at it. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are liked and loved by the people who you are blessed to call friends. AND......YOU are an aunt....TWICE! A beautiful niece and a handsome nephew. Love is a struggle still, but the moment you held those beautiful children as babies for the first time was when true love really found you. It is also when your super protective instincts kicked in. We are very fond of these little munchkins and love them immensely. You are capable of love. Don't sell yourself short. You are capable of more than you could possibly imagine. I promise you, all of the stuff that you are about to go through is worth it. Just hang on through it.

5). You will work with kids. Lots of them. They are going to teach you all sorts of new skills, like patience, conflict resolution, battle strategy, negotiation strategies, peace treaty negotiations, how to be an effective hostage negotiator and the finer points of effective public speaking. They will drive you crazy. You will want to hide from them at times. But when you get a hug from a kid and it's genuine and they tell you that you
are their favorite, it makes it all worth it. You love them all. And they love you in their own way. And you would protect them with your life. You are a kid person. Get used to it.

6). Single? Yes. Content there? Finally. Yes. It's okay. Not everyone is going to find someone. AND THAT IS OKAY. Don't beat yourself up over it. I already know that you do, but see it as a blessing. God is prepping you for something awesome. Our lives are not defined by being married or having kids or the house with the white picket fence. You, my dear one, are defined by God and God alone. What you think of yourself should be in direct correlation with who God created you to be. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. God has a good plan. Trust Him. He knows
what He is doing.

Enjoy the ride. You will get here soon enough. Take in all of the memories and the people and the little things that make you who you are. Be creative. Write down everything. Be brave and bold. You got this. I'm pulling for you.

Sincerely-
Lori, 2016

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