Dear Younger Me,
I don’t know how much time we have together so I’m going to make this quick. I’ve watched you from afar. I’ve noticed the mistakes you’ve made, the heartbreak you’ve endured and I wanted so much to step in and lend a hand…or just give you a hug and tell you, “It’s going to be ok.” But you and I both know that’s not how it works. You’ll learn soon enough that the battles you are facing are a necessary evil – you have to go through them sweet girl; you can’t go around them.
But, if you’ll give me this time before you rush off to the lake with your friends, maybe we can both survive this life with a little more grace.
So here are 10 things that I wish you’d lock up tight in your heart for the next 30 years or so.
#1 Choose your friends carefully: You’ve got it good right now. You don’t know this yet but these friends you’ve made, they’ll be there for you later in life. You’ll need them. Take good care of these relationships. It’ll be harder to find friends like this later in life.
#2 Embrace change: Girl, everything is going to change – and then it’s going to change a hundred more times. It’s ok to be afraid but know that change is an inevitable part of life and with change, comes growth. These experiences will shape you – lean into them.
#3 Moisturize: You’re not even washing your face with regularity now so, start there but also, go steal some of mom’s moisturizer. It smells funny, I know, but trust me on this one.
#4 Talk: I know you’re more of a writer. I know you like to write poetry right now and that’s great – don’t stop doing that! BUT, let people in. I know you are loathe to consider sitting down and talking to mom right now but do it. She knows what she’s talking about and she’s scared for you too but just doesn’t know how to tell you. She doesn’t want to push you away but she loves you so much. Let other people in too – have hard conversations. Ask questions about things you don’t understand. You DO NOT know as much as you think you do.
#5 Floss: Your teeth will cause you so many problems in your 20s. Take better care of them. Floss.
#6 There’s no such thing as perfect: You’re trying so hard to be all the things that you think everyone expects of you. Stop that! You think you’re being a rebel because that’s the way you’ll show people that you have a mind of your own. It’s ok to be different – just stop doing it for the wrong reasons. You don’t really like grunge music that much anyway. Ok, you do (we do!) BUT you don’t have to reinvent yourself everytime you have a crush on a boy. Figure out how you like your eggs. And P.S. Red Shoe Diaries is not real life and not a representation of any sort of healthy relationship. Stop watching it!
#7 Celebrate the little things: Stay young as long as you can. You are currently trying to be, oh, 27 and it is driving everyone crazy. Keep picking wildflowers to take to Granny’s house. Do that until…well, just keep doing it. Dance with your friends in the living room. Watch the storms roll in with mom on the back porch. Play with your dog, Kiki. Do the two-step with Dad, whenever you have the chance. Giggle. Wear silly shoes. Play Balderdash with your family. You have no idea how important these small memories will be later in life.
#8 Go with confidence: And that doesn’t mean it’s ok to wear midriffs to school. Can we please dress our age or at least TRY not to get sent home for breaking dress code? Sorry…I’m a little bitter about this one. What I’m trying to say is have faith in your heart and the things you believe in. You want to save the world, do it! Believe in yourself and all of your talents – some of which are still unknown to you. Don’t worry about what people think of you – the ones who love you don’t care about your quirks. And while we’re at it, embrace your quirks – they make you so uniquely…you.
#9 Be yourself: Speaking of being you, keep doing that! If Lionel Richie makes you happy but Pearl Jam is “cooler”, it’s OK TO LOVE BOTH! You will always have your own style and your own opinions. That is ok. It’s more than ok – it’s one of the best things about you. So, always be yourself and allow others the freedom to have their own walks, styles, and opinions. That doesn’t mean you have to tolerate people who belittle you or the things you care about. Stick up for yourself and the people you love but recognize that we are all different…as God intended.
#10 Forgive: Mom won’t let you go to that Pearl Jam concert – don’t hold it against her for too long. She worries about you. In general, be quick to forgive. Learn from other’s misdeeds (and your own) but move past it. Resentment will keep you locked in someone else’s world – it will keep you connected to people that you need to cut ties with for MUCH longer than necessary. Let it go.
#10.5 Listen to your instincts: That guy hanging outside your apartment when you start college, he’s as bad as he looks. Get inside quickly and lock your door. You have an incredible intuition about people – have faith in your gut. It is almost always right.
Quick Fire Round:
When you call to break up with your fiance, he will be at your mom’s – be prepared for that.
Save everything you write.
Tell the people you love that you love them – all the time.
You’re not alone. If you feel that way, make an effort to reach out to someone.
Always be an artist. Do ANYTHING creative.
Freckles are pretty cool.
Don’t pay too much (ANY) attention to magazines, the Internet, or what people tell you is beautiful.
You will always love road trips to nowhere.
Your lies will haunt you. Be better!
Don’t overpluck your eyebrows.
Eating bananas doesn’t make your boobs bigger (sorry).
Don’t drive to the Beastie Boys concert. You will anyway but…you’ve been warned.
Take more pictures.
Don’t use Crisco as tanning lotion. I mean, what the hell were you thinking?
Also Sun-In? No. Stop overprocessing your hair!
But mostly, be happy and know you’re loved because, at the end of the day, that’s really all there is.
Good luck out there…call me. 😉
And, for a more universal version of this, please check out my YouTube video cause, you know, shameless self-endorsement and also, maybe you’re driving and would rather listen? A girl can dream….
P.S. PLEASE comment (here on my blog or on the video) with what advice you’d give your younger self. I’m dying to know and if I get enough, I’ll do a follow up video/post with your suggestions.