Maggie Mason wrote a letter to her 20-something self on Cassie Boorn’s blog (here) and I loved the idea. Here’s mine.
Dear 20-something Marisa,
Hiya! Here I am, on the other side of our dramatic twenties, and there you are, trying valiantly to avoid any kind of drama. You can’t. It’s okay. Drama is part of life; accept and deal rather than trying to avoid.
While we’re on the subject, stop running from the hard stuff. It will eventually catch up with you and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to find the person you’ve been all along. When you’re scared, turn and run into the fear rather than hiding. It’s easier on the psyche, I swear, and you have the strength to rise to the occasion.
When you do something wrong, apologize immediately. And stop lying. Yes, cold turkey. You will find freedom and peace in not lying, even when the truth is really tough. You are strong enough to handle it.
Be kind to the people who love you. It’s not their fault you’re not quite grown-up yet. Sure, being alone and discovering you’re pretty capable of, well, anything is going to be really amazing for you, but you can do that with anyone. You’re you no matter who you’re around (or at least, you can be).
When you find people who love you, don’t overdo the gratitude. You’ll make a friend who will give you the kind of advice you’ll always remember (“If you feel like you’re too much for your people, you need to find new people.” “The quickest way through the hard stuff is just that — through. The sooner you get started, the more quickly you’ll get through.” “You’re awesome, Mari, just the way you are.”) and seem like he can see your soul. Set your boundaries quickly and make sure they’re this side of acceptable.
Yes, you are doing a fantastic job managing your career. Thank you for that. Keep taking big leaps of faith; soon you’ll get to work for that company you admire. It will be just as wonderful as you imagined.
Last thing: believe. Believe in yourself, believe in the goodness of people, believe that your people love you. You can’t find peace by changing your life; it will come when you grow up, and you will. And even if you screw up (and you will), you’ll get some fantastic second chances. We’re doing really well in our thirties!
With much love and great pride,
P.S. Women are awesome; don’t be afraid to make friends with them. Sex is more fun when you’re comfortable and to be comfortable you need to know the person with whom you’re fooling around. It’s okay to be too sentimental (yes, you) and too honest and too direct; someday you’ll have a blog where you’ll find that people like you more because of that.
It’s funny to me that Maggie’s is all gratitude while mine is all support and guidance. What would your letter be like?