This post was inspired by a similar letter that a friend of mine wrote to her younger self. At the time, I thought it was a great idea, but I really was not certain of what I would write to younger myself, so I decided to hold off on the letter. And tonight at 12:00am, when I have a flight to catch in 3 hours, I was compelled to write...
You will be turning 19 next month, and there are somethings you need to know.
Right now, a year seems like forever to you and you are counting down for the end of each semester. Trust me, you should cherish each of these days of your college life and make memories that will last forever. Take time and get to know more people, don’t just stay close to your main circle of friends. You will be surprised at the awesome group of diverse classmates you have, and you will regret not taking the time to get know them years later.
Soon, life will go by right before your eyes, and a year will seem like only a few months to you. You will see loved ones pass away and learn that you are not invincible the way that you seem to think you are. Protect yourself and your loved ones, because this it, its the one chance we have at life, there are no do-overs.
While you may think that signing up for a credit card in order to receive a free t-shirt or meal on spring break makes perfect economic sense, you are so wrong. Be smart with your money, and don’t fall for the schemes that target college students. You will pay for them for years to come.
Practice the importance of having irreplaceable life experiences and not having replaceable things. In the end, you will not look back on your life and think about the shoes you wore or the purse you carried, but you will remember all of the amazing people and places that were a part of your life experience. Never get so caught up in things that you forget to create memories.
You are your hardest critic, and you don’t give yourself enough credit. You are much more strong, beautiful and worthy than you think you are. You should try dating people who think this also. Be careful of who you choose to let into your life and how you define love.
Do not expect that people will always hurt you, and do not push away the people who are not hurting you. Trust me, one day, when you have pretty much decided that relationships just aren’t for you, you’ll meet someone who will show you what you truly deserve. True love really is worth the wait.
But don’t worry, everything you are going through, including the heartache, is helping you to learn and grow. It will make you appreciate the real thing, when it finally does come along. Don’t compare your love life and relationship status to everyone else’s - “forever” isn’t something you should rush or force.
Be prepared for both the good and bad in people to shock you. You will be disappointed and pleasantly surprised by random strangers and friends and family. Try not to judge people. You may think you know what’s going in someone’s life or why they are a certain way, but you really have no clue. Always strive to see the best in people, but strong enough to remove toxic people from your life.
Don’t assume that people are not doing what you think they should or there for you the way you think they should be because they just don’t care. Think about the amount that people have to “give” to you as a glass of water - for some people there glass is full and they have lots of time / generosity to give, they will be very present. For others, there glass is maybe only half full of water or less - they may not have it in them to be the friend of family member that you think they should be - but this likely has nothing at all to do with you. You have no clue what these people have gone through and you should be appreciative of every moment that anyone is capable of giving.
You don’t have to please everyone, and everyone does not have to be your friend. Learn to choose your happiness over other people’s - because most people are choosing their happiness over your own. Know when its time to put yourself first and don’t feel bad for doing it. Also, its OK to say NO to people, and when you do, don’t regret it at all.
Cherish the people closest to you, and make sure that they know how much you love them. The time is now to let them know and create memories with them.
You really don’t belong behind a desk or in front of a computer, but you’ll choose a career that puts you exactly there. You should learn now to take risks and follow your dreams, even if those dreams are not immediately as financially lucrative as a more practical career. Most people who take daring risks eventually reap much larger rewards, try it some time. And, try not to always make excuses for why you are not following your dreams - because truly, none of these are acceptable.
You are a people person, you love to travel, you love to help others, and you love to share your story - find a way to do this. No matter what.
You think that you have seen the world now? Just wait. You can only imagine the places that you will go and see during your lifetime! And the best part is...you will get to see these new places and create these new memories with your best friend. Appreciate the opportunities that you have to travel the world, absorb the cultures and always remember that if you wanted to learn more about America, you would have stayed there instead of traveling the world. Live among the locals, eat with the locals, learn about the land and go home to tell the stories. You don't know it now, but you are going to see and experience parts of the world that many people may not ever get to see. Share what you have seen and learned, and let all of this have a positive effect on you. You may not agree with what you see around the world, but learn from it and be moved by the goodness that you will find in people, no matter where you are.
Take care of yourself. Exercise and be mindful of what you eat. Right now, you can eat anything you want, not work out, stay up late and not gain a pound. This will all change, be prepared for hard work if you don’t make smart decisions today.
Allyson, you think you have your life all planned out, but be prepared for the twists and turns to come. Someone one day will compare your life and adventures to a roller coaster - hold on, enjoy the ride.
Your (almost) 29 Year Old Self.