I am now 40 years old and I’d like to go back and say a few things to 20 year old me.
Things like, really? Still trying to make shoulder pads work to your advantage? Those huge hair bows in your hair that you think are cute? They’re really not, but I like your spunk, kid. You just look a bit like Minnie Mouse. You’ll figure this out quickly. That hat you wore? Ok, you try things. I’ll give you that. Actually, I miss that a little bit now.
I’d say that you are a sophomore in college and you think you know everything. YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT. You’ve only been drinking for two years. A few short years from now those fun drinks will ruin your whole life and take away your very essence so maybe you want to slow down a bit – or not, because, hey, that’s your journey – to become a drunk but it’s given you a great life today at 40 years old. If you know at 20 what you have to go through in your life would you carry on? It’s best you don’t know what’s ahead of you at 20 years old.
Just know that not everybody drinks to black out with every drink. Some people actually drink to enjoy a drink. It’s true! Some people remember what they did the next day without having shame or having to ask their roommates what happened the night before. You will learn this later that the way you drank and the reasons you drank were not the same as most. That wanting to totally escape your normal self thing you do? That’s not normal. But you don’t know that yet.
Speaking of college, TAKE ADVANTAGE of this gift that so many don’t have. Your parents paid for your entire college experience and you have no idea how rare that is. Please appreciate this for how important and meaningful it is. And thank your parents more. Be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.
This sweet dorm room was bought and paid for and you totally took that for granted. When you have kids some day you will see how incredible that was.
I want you to know that you have value and worth that is so much deeper than what a boy thinks and that you don’t need to be so quick to want anyone who wants you. You place almost all your value on what boys think of you. Stop doing that. You don’t even really want them but you are too afraid to speak up. You will find your voice and claim your respect. I promise. Practice more.
Don’t let that boy break your heart because he stood you up on Valentines Day when you walked to his house and he was sitting there with his ex-girlfriend. Be hurt and humiliated for a minute, but then let it go. It doesn’t matter. AT ALL. Your best man that you never would have imagined is going to appear when you least expect it. Only after many many MANY more bad decisions.
You are trying to be things you are not. You don’t even know who you are yet and you are trying to conform to what you think you should be. You like the way that one looks in her jeans so you try your best to become her body type. It’s never going to happen. You are not built that way. You never have been and you never will be so even though you will still struggle with this 20 years from now, you will indeed grow to love this imperfect body of yours and embrace it for giving you beautifully healthy children.
You are so convinced that you are going to be an actor some day and the truth is, you don’t really want that. You think you do because for a few years it seemed like it was right and felt good. But then it started not feeling good and right and you didn’t know how to stop it. Or change it. Or to trust your instincts. Your instincts have led you astray many times and they will many times more. But then one day, you’ll start making better decisions and being able to trust yourself again. I promise. It’s OK to change your mind. You cannot possibly know what you want in all aspects of your life at 20 years old. You have much evolving to do.
Bottom line here is that you are worthy. You cannot see it now and you run from really seeing who you are. You let others shape who you are and that’s not OK. You own you. Nobody else has that power so don’t give it to them. You are trying so hard to be someone you think people want you to be when those who love you really just want you to be yourself. Some day you will love yourself and believe in yourself but you’ve got a rough road ahead, I’m not going to lie to you. Clearly you are up to the challenge even though you don’t want to be.
That’s a convoluted way of saying you are going to be awesome some day. Not famous and not rich and not with the model body that you thought would make you so happy, but internally awesome. You will smile so big that it infects others with happiness. That’s something you can’t possibly understand at 20 years old because you are too selfish right now. In 20 years you will really dig your life and who you are. And 20 years after that, I bet you will like yourself even more.
So listen up 20 year old me. I’m telling you right now to just keep going about your business. You are going to screw up royally and hurt yourself and others deeply. You are going to lose everything and have to build yourself back up from nothing. I’m here to tell you though, the thing you cannot even possibly comprehend is, everything you go through in the next 20 years is going to be worth it. Maybe I had nothing to really tell you to begin with because you have to go through all this shit to get to the other side. I guess all I really have to say to you is, carry on.
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