A Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self on my 40th Birthday
Hey Girl, (that’s how we talk now BTW. But we both know slang has never been our strong suit and, spoiler alert, that’s not going to change over the next 20 years. But back to my letter to you.)
Twenty years has give me a little perspective. I know the last few months have been some of the hardest of your life so far. A health crisis led to other crises and now the future feels a little disjointed. You can relax. It’s all going to work out. Now that you know you aren’t doomed, let’s talk about the important stuff. Like swimwear.
The body you have this summer is as good as it’s going to get. So wear that bikini if you want to if for no other reason than no one is telling you no and you have no scars. You have a few bikini wearing years ahead so live them up.
While you’re living it up on the beach or the pool, live it up with your friends. You know me, because I’m you, so I’m not saying get crazy, I’m saying enjoy these last couple of years of college. If someone asks you to go somewhere, go. Whether it’s Walmart at midnight or Six Flags for a weekend, go. Keep your morals and standards but don’t let these opportunities pass.
One day you’ll be snuggled in a rocker with your two sweet babies (they will be cute babies, lucky you), and you’ll be right where you want to be. And in the next moment you’ll feel a little hemmed in until you remember all those days you took advantage of the freedom of young adulthood. Staying up until midnight eating cookie dough with your sister and your friends isn’t as much for you now as it is for you later.
Right now you’re wondering if you’ll ever get things back on track. The answer is no and yes. The old track is gone, but don’t mourn it for too long. The new track you’re building has twists and turns and adventure you never imagined. You can do a few things to help me, err, you, over the next few years. Taking up some form of exercise won’t kill us. It’s hard to image it right now, but you won’t walk a half mile across campus and back again every day for the rest of your life. We need some good habits to take into these next twenty years. And maybe you could wear a little more sunscreen on your face.
I know I haven’t talked a lot about school. It’s really not as do or die as you’ve made it out to be. Keep working hard, you’ll be fine. Next year when you’re planning your senior schedule and you REALLY want to take that beginning piano class because you need an easy A, please consider a bookkeeping class instead. Don’t roll your eyes at me. We hate math. All the stereotypical things people say about girls and math, we live them. A bookkeeping class would really come in handy right now. No, I’m not going to tell you why. It would ruin the surprise. Just take my word for it.
Keep pushing yourself but leave the stress behind. It’s not good for our health and I can tell you the future, the next twenty years anyway, somehow manage to work out well.
Happy birthday! Welcome to your twenties!
You at 40
P.S. Don’t give that skinny kid you work with at the shoe store so much grief. You don't know it yet, but he's the best thing that ever happened to you.