Dear 29-year-old self,
We need to talk. I have no doubt that you are wiser, healthier, and more accomplished than I am, but there is one thing that I have that you don’t. And if you had it before it must mean that you simply have to find it again. You just lost it somewhere – so I’m writing this to you to help you get it back.
Let me ask you, what are you so worried about all the time?
All of this education and life experience seems to have brought with it an incredible amount of planning, brooding, and effort. Now, don’t get me wrong, effort can be a great thing, but some parts of life can be effortless- should be effortless. Do you remember what it was like to get up in the morning and notice that the dishes weren’t done but go outside and read a book anyway because it was so nice outside? Do you remember filling your days with school, homework, art, friends, and work and yet still not worrying that you didn’t have enough time? Remember being largely unaware of what time it was and going to bed when you were tired?
Sure, you can’t have all of those things exactly like before because you have different responsibilities now, but I have to tell you, dear future self, that there are some parts of you that I don’t aspire to grow up to be. I’m so proud of you for finishing school, getting a good job, taking time to travel, getting braver, and seeking new experiences. But, for one second, please just listen to me when I tell you that in some cases, you just need to keep it simple.
You don’t need a ton of new clothes (and especially don’t need to spend more money on brand names. Who sold you on that one?) You can drive that car into the ground (you’re seriously still not a car person). Eating out all the time because you’re a “foodie” is a load of crap (you love to cook and try new things, stop wasting so much money). A very important question I ask myself is “will this matter in five years?” Try using that again. I’m betting it will help you drop some of that fretting. Enjoy your down time (I need it, you still need it. For you it is “productive” if that’s what you’re so worried about). I realize that you’re not close to an alcoholic, but don’t for one second think that you will be bored if you’re not drinking. (You know you can’t argue this one because I’ve never had a drink in my life and I find plenty to do. Plenty of really fun and satisfying things to do). There is no reason to be so mindless. Enjoy each second you have to soak it all in, because trust me, things change quickly. And finally, please, please, please stop second guessing yourself so much. I was taught to trust my intuition and it’s always led me to great places. Take a chance. It’ll all be ok.
I’m really excited to be you. I can’t wait to see what life brings me. But take my advice and just let go a little. Life back here is immensely relaxed, even though there is a lot of external drama. I’m betting you have way more emotional resources to deal with it all now. Use them.
Your 18-year-old self
Oh, and p.s. Please do me a favor and stop to look around at your life for a second. And if I hear one more “fml,” “this is the worst,” or anything of that nature about pointless things, I might have to come to 2014 and slap some sense into you.