Dear John: Happy Birthday, and Thank You


Honestly, sometimes I forget I have become an adult.

It isn’t that I’m not willing to take responsibility for myself or that I don’t want to be in charge of my own life. It’s just that sometimes, when I wake up in the middle of the night because I drank coffee too late, because I’m thinking about my novel, because I’m stressed, because I’m paranoid my alarm won’t go off when it’s supposed to, I wish all the other things didn’t matter. Things like emails and job applications and choosing a profile picture that represents my absolute best, professional self.

Okay, so that last one isn’t at the top of my list of everyday worries. But on these mornings I just want to sleep so I don’t have to think, honestly, sometimes I start wondering how you do it all.

Let’s be clear: I know you’re just a regular human being who just so happens to have a little bit more awesome inside you than everybody else. I know being an intelligent, successful person really doesn’t make you all that different from people like me, who are still trying to find a thing or two (or twelve) they can be successful at without losing their joy.

What makes you stand out is your willingness to be real, John. And I think, today, that deserves to be recognized.

You see, we all carry fragments of our pasts around in the back pockets of our favorite pairs of jeans. It’s easy to forget they’re there, but every once in awhile, hello, we remember. And the thing is, everybody has their own outlet for dealing with how it feels to remember things we might not always want to remember. Or at least, everybody is doing their best to find theirs.

I never saw writing as an outlet for these kinds of things, really. Not until I saw the way you incorporate writing into your life, instead of making writing your entire life, all day, every day.

That’s what I used to want to do, just sit around and write all the time. But for some reason, I’d get really tired of it. I’d feel drained and, actually, kind of awful after long stretches of writing without stopping. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why.

You’re a writer, John, but that’s not all you are. That’s not all you talk about and that’s not all you’re willing to support or express interest in. You’re an interesting person to follow (that sounded creepy but I don’t mean it like that) because you always have something worthwhile to say. You know a lot about a lot of different things. You wear a lot of hats.

And on top of all that, on top of your work and your family and your dedication to Nerdfighteria, you’ve still found time to write a few books on the side.

Now I’m not saying I want to live an exact replica of your life. That would be going too far.

But I do admire you for being so willing to share what it is like to be you, the good and the bad and all the airport-sized chaos in-between. Because it reminds people like me that it’s okay to be 23 and have no idea what our lives are going to be like five, 10 years from now. It’s okay to try a lot of different things, even if we’re not so good at them, until we either get better at them or figure out what we’re good enough at to make it work in our favor.

It’s okay to have days where writing is the only thing we want to do. It’s okay to have days, weeks, months where writing is just something we do at our own pace, when we can, because sometimes there are things that take precedence.

It’s okay to forget we have become adults. And at the same time, it’s okay to be an adult, because that’s when everything eventually falls into place.

Thanks for reminding us we’re going to make it.

We hope you have a good day, all of us, and many more to come.

Best wishes.

Image courtesy of John Green.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink. Follow Meg on Twitter.