Dear 20 years old me,
The date today is April 21, 2023. Exactly seven years from where you are now – looks like we still have a thing with seven. We’re still in our 20s so no need to fuss about being that old. You’d love where I am right now, but I’ll tell you all about it later.
Where to begin? I guess I’ll start by saying that you have a long and rough road ahead of you. I remember how we were in our early 20s, full of doubt, yet excited and scared for the next steps. I know this would sound cliché, but, it does get better day after day. You’ll find your feet soon enough and no matter how scared you’re feeling, you’re still going to jump head first into everything because that’s the kind of person you are. Life will throw you curveballs, a lot of them, and there would be many, many times where you’ll want to give up just settle with what you have. But, love, every little hardship will be worth it in the end.
I know I’m sounding very vague right now, but I don’t want this letter to affect your future decisions too much. I will be saying some few reminders for you, love. I’m sure you already thought these ones up but it wouldn’t hurt to hear it from me – your future you, eh?
Be nicer to yourself. Stop looking at the mirror and seeing all the imperfections. Stop replaying your mistakes in your head a hundred times. Stop comparing yourself to others. Listen to John O. What-ifs and should-haves will eat your brain. Focus on where you are right now and embrace it. This is who you are and you are going to love it whole-heartedly.
Take care of yourself. Now, just because I said to embrace who you are does not mean you get to pass out on exercising and taking healthy meals. You need to take care of yourself. I have it on good authority that you’ll end up loving joining marathons. Take your running shoes out and go for a jog.
Impress no one but yourself. While it would be cool to impress everyone else, your priority should be you. Do things that’ll make you proud and happy of who you are becoming. Having a new car might impress your family and friends but we both know how scared and unmotivated you are on driving. Face your own fears and finally dive out of a plane. You’ll impress and be proud of yourself for finally checking a thing off your bucket list that’s been there since you created one.
Say ‘I love you’ more often. The words you will regret more are the ones that you never actually said. Tell the ones you love them that you do. Words are sometimes louder than action, love. You should know that better than anyone.
Let people in. Which is a nicer way of saying ‘stop being a snob’ and ‘actually be a bit friendly’. You will never be a social butterfly but it would be nice to know someone from another place, culture, age range. Make connections. Make lots of them. You’ll never know if a stranger would end up to be a very close friend.
Have fun expanding your career. Learning is fun! Stop focusing on the title and money – though, who would say no to a promotion, right? The ugly truth is that no matter how good a person is, some promotions can only be attained by the number of years you have put in the company. Make your time count. Take lots of training and certification. Enjoy each steps. Be passionate about your career.
Be spontaneous. Take road trips. Go on an unplanned hike. Take an out-of-the-country alone and with no itinerary. It’s actually fun to be spontaneous once in a while. It can be as simple as taking your brothers to Sandbox for a weekend. Sometimes, love, the best memories are those that are not planned.
Spend a lot of time with family. Family will be one of the constants in your life. Don’t take them for granted. You know how easy it is for someone to just be… gone. Spend a lot of time with them. As much as you can. You don’t even have to do anything fancy. Just chatting with them over meals is good enough.
I have to stop this now. They’re calling for our flight now and I guess I have to throw you a bone on where I am somehow. We’re finally going to Europe! Took us long enough, but this is the only year your boyfriend was allowed to be on leave for a month. Oops. Cat’s out of the bag now! Enough stressing about ending up alone and tell your best friends they don’t have to worry about that, as well. They can be more of a worrywart about that than you. I’m rolling my eyes because of that, by the way. See you in seven years!!
Love, you but a bit older.