For Erin

I’m sorry you feel stuck and forced into a job you don’t really want. A job that makes you feel like a sell-out. Or part of a broken system you despise. Though I can’t relate to feeling forced into a job I hate, I do understand the consequences, financial and otherwise, of hard choices.

I’m sorry you’re unhappy. And I’m embarrassed. I didn’t realize how hard this choice was for you when I tried to be excited and called it an “adventure.” I’m so sorry you’re unhappy. I think I can related to that kind of unhappiness and know too well how hopeless it can make everything feel.

I hope for happiness for you. Whatever that means to you. I wish I could have done more to help you get there. And for that reason more than any other, I’m sorry you’re leaving. I really thought I’d have more time to help you get happy.

And proud. I think too often we think of pride as a vice. Something to ward against. But pride can give us purpose. It can helps strive to success. There’s no doubt there are big things missing from my life, but I’m proud of the work I do and the struggles I face to hold on to that.

More than anything else, I want you to know this; you are an intelligent, thoughtful, beautiful woman. I have no doubt you can do anything you put your mind to. Though I’ve been attracted to all types of women over the years, they’ve all had a couple of things in common. They were all smarter than I am. And they were all lovers of life more than I am. Confident. You have those traits. I see in you someone that wants to go and see and try. Even in the dark place you’re in, I see in you a lover of life. Someone who cares about the world. About people.

I hope you stay in touch. I hope it isn’t another 12 years and a crisis before we talk again. Even from half a world away, I want you to know that I am here. To listen. To help as I can.

I wish you the very best of luck and hope it turns out better than in your imagination. And I’m sorry I was too embarrassed to say this to you in person. Though I hope you can look at this from time to time and feel better and know you’re terrific and you’re not alone.

Most Sincerely,