Five years ago today I met someone who would enrich my life in ways I couldn't have anticipated. For those who have ever had the privilege of mentoring someone, you may empathize with this.
In my situation, I was matched with a fifteen year-old for a formal year-long mentoring program through my Unitarian Universalist church's Coming of Age program. I had gone through the same program ten years prior and was the youngest mentor by many years in this batch. I had grown up in this church but only recently become a formal member on my own and was eager to re-engage with the community as a mentor. (little did I know that I would return the following year to teach the program.)
I remember telling the program leader that I would prefer a student who "wasn't shy but also not too-cool-for-school." I wouldn't have known quite what to do with either. Well, I was paired with a young woman who loved musical theater, social justice activism, baking, and all-things Harry Potter.
Cool, I could handle this.
I met H on her 15th birthday and, while being her mentor was a delight, developing a sisterly friendship with her over the past five years has been a genuine joy. This weekend she came to Toronto to ring in her 20th birthday and I found myself thinking back to where both our lives were at that point and where we are now.
I told her that she wouldn't believe the amount of radical growth she will go through in the next decade. Your 20s are a serious trip.
Five years ago I had just ended a long, serious, and painful relationship. I had been making plans for graduate school and maybe buying a house or getting a dog but I put the breaks on everything for a summer before starting to rebuild a new life for myself.
The leaving was one of the most difficult things I have ever done and the rebuilding was the absolute best.
My life had shifted profoundly in so many ways and a few months later I met H. What a gift.
Watching her navigate those tough high school years emboldened me to take more risks and embrace more of the opportunities I had at my fingertips. Oh, to be an adult! I worked harder, traveled more, made stronger friendships, and had more fun that I had at any other point in my life.
Those were some seriously formative years.
So, where were you five years ago today?