Letter to my Younger Self

Dear Younger Me,

What you thought you’d be as you waded into your late twenties? Forget about it.

You are not that perfectly-planned established self. You’re living in an apartment, but not feeling the need to make moves any more permanent than that. You aren’t married or on the verge of starting a family. You look around and see others who have taken that path and feel respect, but not jealousy. You’ve learned not to compare, though you still may be guilty of it every now and then.

You’ve loosened your grip on the black-and-white world you once craved. You don’t automatically choose judgment – not because you’ve suddenly become enlightened, but because you’ve been there. And it sucked.

You’ve started to shed the layers of illusion that surrounded adulthood. They had stopped being protective and started becoming restrictive.

Relationships are no longer put into boxes and you don’t get angry when yours has strayed too far from the status quo. You’ve started to grapple with people you love finding that love isn’t enough. You accept the fact that your mother was right when she told you that your mouth would get you into trouble someday.

You were right about your friendships, for the most part. You knew that when your cousins told you that “ten years from now, you won’t be as close with your high school friends” that they’d be wrong. Friends are friends and close is a relative term.

You did grow apart from your oldest, closest friend and, along with it, you felt the heaviness of your first big regret. Now that it’s impossible for you to pick up where you left off the way you’d always assumed, you miss her more. You rest on a hope that your memories are tucked safely inside her head and that she didn’t lose the feeling that was “us.”

But regrets aren’t your thing, so you consider yourself lucky that after 27 years, you have just one.

You’ve experienced the elation of a country coming together. You feel all World-War-II as you watch your fellow countrymen promise to do and be better because they feel that – finally – their values are being represented instead of minimized.  You sense that you’ve stood witness to something bigger than yourself and you close your eyes and vow to remember what this is like.

You’re realizing that you aren’t yet satisfied enough with where you’ve been and what you’ve done in your life to come within a 50-foot radius of the word “settle.” If you are to live your life like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black the way you promised, you’ve got a lot of work to do.  Uncomfortable though it may be, you get that it is something valuable to wake up one morning and say “I don’t want anything more.”

So, appreciate the shades of gray. Find out new things about yourself and have some confidence. Outwardly love others in an unconditional way. Save and spend wisely. Don’t let fear hold you back. Let your disappointments in all their varying degrees make you strong and thicken your skin. Don’t expect it to get easier, but enjoy it when it does. There may come a point where you have it all figured out, but it will likely be fleeting.

In the words of the Emily Saliers, “there’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line/the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine.”

As you write this, you won’t know any more about what lies ahead than you did before, but you’ll savor the uncertainty.

Love always,

Your 27-year old self


3 Responses to “Letter to my Younger Self”

  1. Kir Says:

    me likey. and me lovey you.

  2. Canto Says:

    Well said.

  3. betsy Says:

    this is my new motto…

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