To Whom It Does Concern:
Hello, and thank you for reading this letter. What I have to say here will be good for both you and me. After all, I have lived a while, and you are full of life. We can learn from one another, and perhaps reach a point of mutual understanding.
The contents of this letter are certainly not intended to mother you, because I am not your Mom. (I own a website that publicly declares this!) Consider me a mentor you don’t even know yet. So, float your trust to me, as I share 5 key lessons with you today. Something tells me these concepts will come in handy for you in the years ahead:
Your Brain, Your Heart and Your Gut Serve Different Purposes. They perform separate duties and constantly compete with and contradict each other. Listen to each of them to determine which one is right for the job at hand. Listening is one of the hardest habits you will learn. Because, much like me, you always have something to say. But you’ve got to stop and hear the signals from Inner You. Your Brain will overthink things; Your Heart will take risks; and Your Gut will offer you a nice blend of the two. In most cases, go with Your Gut. But protect yourself with Your Brain and push yourself with Your Heart on various occasions.
You Can Only Fix and Change Yourself. It is not your job to take care of other people at all costs. Spoiler Alert: The exception will be the children you will have.
Believe in Boundaries. This one goes nicely with the tip above. Life is not a game of X-treme Loyalty, where a gold medal goes to the girl who sticks around the longest because that’s what she’s supposed to do. There’s no guilt or shame in having high standards and expectations of others and their behavior. Hold your people accountable.
Give Your Best. If you’re on the other side of high standards and expectations, then deliver. You will rarely disappoint anyone, including yourself, if you consistently bring your best effort to your job, to your relationships, to your piles of laundry. The world wants your best. At the same time, don’t fool yourself with unrealistic expectations. You will fail more than you’ll ever expect or plan for. Fail with dignity; never excuses, please.
Joy Wins. Do not fight at the price of your peace. Give away love and kindness to anyone who will receive it. Laugh instead of crying, but go ahead and cry when you really mean it and when you have actual tears to send down your cheeks, not the crocodile kind. And if something or someone has rattled your joy and you can’t seem to get past it, go to bed. A night of sleep will always reduce your pain and lessen your worries. Your pillow is home.
So, I’ve got to be honest – if you followed all this advice now and moving forward, your life would be downright dull, and you’d never have anything worthwhile to write about later. You will likely not listen to what I’ve said here because you believe you have many advantages over me, and you think you know what you are doing.
You are wide-eyed. I’m getting wise.
You sleep like a baby at night. I’m awake writing you this letter at 1 am.
You are enviously whole. I’m beautifully broken.
You don’t know yet what your life holds for you. I know quite a bit more…
You see, you are me 23 years ago, and I am you 23 years ahead. You have only an inkling or wild guess about who I am while you are a mysterious memory to me. To be frank, I’m pretty frustrated with you right now. Frustrated by some choices you are going to make. At the same time, I can’t be angry with you. Your decisions will also lead to some unbelievably wonderful results: strong friendships, a special bond with your family, a stable career you enjoy, and best of all, The Precious Pair, but I won’t spoil that part entirely for you. (HINT: They will be strong, creative, and – YES – joyful, just like you. Aren’t you proud already?)
Finally, for good measure, I want you to know you will lose things – lots of things. Keys, debit cards, credit cards, library books, your cell phone, and other assorted possessions. Do us both a favor and keep better track of your stuff, would you?
All My Love,
The Girl Twice Your Age