Joan Didion once wrote, “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be." Rolling into my 33rd year, I feel this deeply. Looking back, I laugh, cringe and sigh at those ever evolving souls. That high school freshman who was bold enough to run for class president (and lose) yet so sentimental she'd cry listening to Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings. The cripplingly shy college student who got straight As but felt incapable of making new friendships. That postgrad who was a blend of determined and disoriented, wildly inspired and defeated. What pieces of those girls are still in me? What would I say to them now?
My twenties, of course, had extreme highs and lows. The excitement and uncertainty that comes with trying to find the right career—and man. Though I know those ten years are the only thing that could truly teach me, here’s what I’d tell my twentysomething self if I could.
Stop Being So Damn Insecure
It's a huge comfort to learn that no one really cares what you're wearing, how much you weigh or if you have a zit on your forehead. Everyone is too busy thinking about themselves, their own problems, their own worlds, their own zits. Pull your shoulders back, own your space, speak up! Fear of embarrassment is debilitating.
Don't Hide the Real You
Don't contort yourself to be what you think other people—particularly men—will like. It's exhausting, it's alienating, it's lonely. Be real, be vulnerable, that's what attracts true connections with like-minded people.
Embrace the Lulls
Don't rush into the job scene right after college—there's plenty of room in life for your career but very few opportunities for a break. Take your time, travel, linger—don't let the discomfort of uncertainty rush you. And when you find yourself in-between jobs, which you will, keep your head high and don't feel pressured by the rat race. Be creative, give yourself the space to try new things, the next job will come along at just the right time.
Don’t Let Them Make You Feel Foolish
Many of the men you date will try, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, to belittle you—your passions, your career, even your desire for a real relationship. This is their insecurity, this is their attempt to control you. Bow out before you believe them.
You'll Never Have it All Figured Out
Don't worry, I won't make you gag with the *~life is a journey not a destination~* spiel, just don't expect to arrive at some magical age where you say "Ah! I made it," and kick back your heels while the happiness rolls in. The truth is, some life lessons are life long battles we have to learn and relearn. Each age comes with a new set of challenges and joys. Be patient with yourself and others, they haven't figured it out either. Forgive forgive forgive.
Don't Be Afraid of Your Thirties
They're fabulous—truly. Not perfect but close enough. You'll be happier than you've ever been and more yourself than ever before.
I'm Proud of You
For every mistake you beat yourself up for, there are a hundred beautiful choices you’ve forgotten. A thousand right turns I’m so grateful you made. Every time you think you can’t get back up again, you do. You are stronger than you know.
This one’s for you.
What would you tell your twentysomething self?