There are so many things you should know: about the world you live in, about life in general, and about yourself. Things that only experience, age, and wisdom can provide. But you’re in luck! You’re older, almost-30-self is ready and willing to share a few nuggets of insight. So, buckle your seat-belt, sister, while I drop some knowledge on ya.
Life Lesson #1: Spend more time with your family.
It may seem unimportant to you now. You may think that spending the afternoon cooking with your Dad, going through family photos with your Mom, or taking in a concert with your little brother is the epitome of uncool. You may think that you’ll have all the time in the world to be a family person LATER. You may feel like your job as the all-important teenager is to learn to fly on your own.
Let me be the one to school you on this, my friend. Family is the most important aspect of your eventual-adult life. You will need them in ways you can’t even imagine yet. You will lean on them, laugh with them, and love them so much your heart feels it will burst. They will be more than your parental figures and your lone sibling. They will be your heartbeat, your breath, your being. So don’t take them for granted now, young one. Because when your world comes crashing down, your family will be the ones there searching for you in the rubble.
Life Lesson #2: Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Being beautiful is about so much more than what you look like.
I’m not going to go all after-school special on you. You’re a smart kid, so a part of you already knows this. But when you look in that mirror and pick apart the flaws you think you see, remember that the thing that makes you a truly beautiful person isn’t about that zit or those dark circles under your eyes or that slightly crooked tooth.
It’s about how you treat other people. How you present yourself to the world. What you do to make the lives of those you love a brighter place to exist.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rock the lip gloss. Because it’s cute, I promise. But be mindful. Be present. Be aware. And then you’ll be truly beautiful.
Life Lesson #3: Spend less time with boys. Don’t look at me like that, I know what I’m talking about.
Yes, you will fall in love. Yes, it will feel like the most monumental, all-encompassing, cataclysmic thing in this and every other universe. You will dream of him, think of him, talk about him, and obsess about him in most every minute of your teenage life. His name will roll off your tongue more frequently than your own. It is beautiful, it is magical, it is your first love. And yes, it is important.
But ten years from now, that love will be little more than a memory. And the friendships you neglected while you spent your teenage years wrapped around a boy will still be alive and viable (if you’re lucky.) When you marry the man you’re supposed to spend your life with, that boy will not be in your life. But those girlfriends–the really good ones that stuck with you through that first love, that first heartache, and all the others after that–THEY will be there.
Surround yourself with people who push you to be your best self. Accept them with open arms and they will reciprocate. These people will cheer you on, buoy you up in times of crises, make you laugh until your sides hurt, and listen to your deepest darkest fears. They will understand you in a way other people never can. They will finish your sentences, laugh at your jokes (thanks, guys, really) and fill every corner of your heart. Strive to be a better friend, and the love and joy you get back will be tenfold.
Life Lesson #4: Listen to me, and listen to me closely. Being silly is ok. Really. In fact, being silly is MORE than ok, it’s a requirement. And here’s why.
It’s fun. Plain and simple, when you allow yourself to crack a silly joke, or make a silly face, or act a little silly in a silly situation, it will be fun.
Stop taking yourself so seriously. Because believe me, on the eve of your 30th birthday, there is one thing you will know for sure: life is serious enough without traipsing through it as a straight-laced, always-deadpan individual. So let loose that loud laugh in a public place. Go ahead and giggle at the inappropriate (and yet hilarious) fart joke. Find joy in cartoons and toys and childhood memories. Let yourself FEEL those moments. LIVE them, ENJOY them, CREATE them. Being silly is FUN.
Life Lesson #5: You will find a love like you never knew existed: a fairy tale love with roots in the truest reality. Trust me.
There will be nights when you will wallow in the grief of aloneness. It is inevitable. You will have your heart broken, you will kiss one too many frogs, and your belief in the ‘perfect soulmate’ will wane. You will shed a gazillion tears over men who are not worth the time and trouble. You will wonder if you are destined to be alone forever.
Let me tell you something, little girl. What the universe has in store for you will knock your socks off. You will find a man who wants to share every little bit of life with you: the good parts, the bad parts, the beautiful moments, the ugly ones. He wants to be all up in it. With YOU. He will love the fact that you’re a little neurotic. He will laugh at you when you try to explain why you are neurotic in the first place. He will look into your eyes and know your soul. He will say things to you in moments of heartache that will heal your wounds and solder your foundation. He will be more than your mate, he will be your best friend.
You have no idea how lucky you will be in love. Here’s a tip, he’ll look like this:
So be on the lookout, my dear. True love is on your horizon.
I hope you’ll take my words to heart. Print out my letter and stow it somewhere for safe-keeping. Believe in the power of yourself, your words, and your ability to love. They will mean everything to you in your not-so-distant future.
Your Older Counterpart
This post was inspired, in part, by my friend Simoney over at Greatfun4kids. Read her own letter here.