Dear little girl,
You will turn 26 tomorrow. Congratulations!
Life is happening, flooding by you at a speed that your eyes and heart can’t quite keep track of.
A lot has happened to you in ten years. Don’t worry. You’re still awkward, but it doesn’t feel debilitating anymore. Instead, it is growing into one of your favorite things about yourself. Your awkwardness makes you laugh, it makes for really funny stories, and believe it or not…it will protect you more times than you can possibly imagine.
Over the next ten years, you will grow and you will become. You will discover who you are and who you aren’t. You will figure out what music you like, what clothes suit your style, and what people make you smile. You will go to a college that you love. You will work hard, and you will learn a lot. You will go on to move into a job that feels like an extension of your personality. It will make you happy to go to work each day!
But, also over the course of the next ten years, relationships will end. This is going to be hard for you… not gonna lie. People will change, friendships will end, and you won’t really understand why. You will feel misunderstood and sometimes, yes, you will even feel like you are not enough. Listen to me carefully: it’s going to be ok. Things will feel dark, and you will grieve. In moments, you will wonder if there is something really wrong with who you are. Don’t believe it. Listen to the people who love you unconditionally, and above all, listen to that still, small voice within you.
Try to remember: people will treat you as well as they are able. The truth is, the people who are supposed to love you will not always value you. You’re not perfect, (trust me! I know all about you!) but you love fearlessly and completely. Don’t doubt your heart just because people don’t see you clearly sometimes.
Speaking of your heart, I hate to break it to you, but you are still tenderhearted. You are still dramatic and still emotional. You still get your feelings hurt. You are still soft. You have plenty of bruises, but not a lot of calluses. You still care way too much about everything and everyone. And you know what? I hope that will always be the case! Being tough is overrated, and laid back and cool is not really your style!
Over the next ten years, you will experience beauty and laughter and longing and sadness. Over the next ten years, you will experience LIFE! It may not feel like a life because it is not what you imagined for yourself. It is not a husband-two kids-picket fence life. But it is still a beautiful, beautiful life! Don’t waste a second of it! Don’t waste your time trying to prove your value to anyone. Don’t waste your life trying to change to make people love you (heads up: you can’t make anyone do anything!). Don’t waste your time wishing you were skinnier or prettier or less dramatic or more logical or not quite so messy.
In fact, here is my final advice to you: be messy. Embrace the messiness of yourself and your life.
Embrace the messiness of loving deeply even when the people around you don’t always get it. Embrace the messiness of having no clue what you are doing 95% of the time. Embrace the messiness of making lots of mistakes with the best intentions. Embrace the messiness of asking too many questions and always telling the truth.
Don’t fight against yourself all the time. Don’t dislike yourself. Don’t be afraid TO BE yourself. Embrace the mess. Heck, maybe even celebrate it!
It is a beautiful life, little girl…don’t ever forget that!
Your (soon to be) 26 year old self.