I turn 40 today, and as I get closer to finishing my autobiographical novel, I’ve been thinking a lot about the person I was before the events detailed in my book took place.
In case you are unfamiliar with my story, here is a quick synopsis: In 1997, my adoptive parents received a phone call out of the blue informing them that I had been separated from my biological family in El Salvador during the country’s civil war and that they had been searching for me for 14 years. After taking a blood test to confirm my identity, my adoptive family and I flew down to Costa Rica in December to meet my birth family for the first time. It was an incredible reunion, after which I spent the following years visiting and getting to know this new family.
I was only 16 years old at the time, and I didn’t yet understand the long-lasting impact that joyous and yet challenging event would have on my life. I didn’t know that I would spend the next two decades chasing something that was never really obtainable. I was unaware of, or unable to process, the feelings of grief and loss that haunted me during that time. I was still trying to find my place in the world and trying to make sense of the absurd reality that I had been presented with.
As I look back on the past 20 years or so, I think about what advice I might give to my younger self. The life lessons I would share with him to help with the journey ahead. I also wonder if he would listen. I was, and still am, a person of strong will and fierce determination. The only difference is that now I know that I don’t have all the answers. So, I have no idea if that naïve kid would actually listen to this advice, but here it goes.
P.S. If you're interested in getting updates about my up coming book, you can sign up for my email newslettler, and when you do, you will get to read the first three chapters.