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#YoungerMe: You Are One in a Million

Dear 18-Year-Old Me,

You are one in a million. Believe that. I want you to know that being yourself is essential to your happiness. You will change, you will grow, and while others (even those close to you) will doubt your ability to do so, soldier on. Prove everyone wrong. The next 10 years will bring more changes and more challenges than you could ever imagine. Embrace your younger years, but keep moving forward. With that said, I leave you with these words:

Keep writing.

You have loved writing since you were old enough to put pencil to paper. Do not take your passion for granted. Use it to express yourself in all kinds of ways. Use it in your personal life. Use it at work. Writing is an invaluable skill you can always improve upon. Write even when you don’t want to. Most importantly: KEEP EVERYTHING. Your diaries, notes between friends, school projects, and musings on scrap paper are precious. They’re part of you.

Let love in.

You are going to experience loss in a big way. It’s going to hit you like a Mack Truck and you are going to need everyone close to you to help piece you back together. Let those people be your life raft. Talk to them, lean on them. There is no shame in asking for help when you’re feeling like your world has come to an end, though I promise you it doesn’t. You will come out of your darkest days feeling stronger, smarter, and more mature. In a way, going through this loss will prepare you for adulthood and all its pitfalls. You’ve always found it challenging to show love and to accept it. You can change that, because you’re worth it.

Let it go.

Having a sharp memory is both a burden and blessing. Do your best to forgive and forget. You will never live “happily ever after” if you continue holding on to grudges and keep punishing yourself for mistakes you made years ago. No one is perfect and no one expects you to be. Learn from your experiences and use them to grow, you’ll be better for it.

Plans change.

Right now you have a 10-year plan and you won’t let anyone tell you things won’t turn out the way you want. It’s true, things won’t turn out exactly how you expected, but this isn’t a bad thing. Life throws obstacles at you that you simply cannot control, so you adapt. You won’t be making the big bucks or have the big house with 2.5 kids before 30. Don’t be discouraged by this. You have so many wonderful, unexpected memories coming your way that you didn’t plan for. Cherish the unexpected; you know you love to be spontaneous!

You don’t have to be the best.

I know, I know, your Type A personality dictates that you must outperform everyone in everything. It’s not possible and it’s both mentally and physically exhausting to keep trying. Accept your flaws and just work hard. Put your best effort into everything that matters to you and that will be enough. Pursue new passions, be daring, fail. Perfectionism is boring, but you are not.

There is so much more I want to tell you, but you have never been one for the unsolicited advice, so I thought I better keep it short. Remember to take time for yourself without the TV, or your earbuds plugged in. Reflect on the blessings in your life and keep the beautiful memories you make close to your heart. You’re going to do great things!

Always keep it real,
28-Year-Old Andie