Some posts are short and pithy (no major accomplishment without significant “butt hurt” is an especially topical one for writers!), but others are longer and thoughtful reflections about the meaning of life.
Long or short, they’ve made me think about what I’d tell my younger self—that girl in her late teens who was still searching for who she was and what she wanted to be.
Dear younger Jen,
Right now, you can wear and look good in almost anything. Experiment, have fun, and definitely buy that bikini, as long as you remember a hat and sunscreen, too.
Ditch all the black clothing, though. You think it makes you look grown-up and sophisticated, but it’s much too harsh for your skin tone. Ditto black eyeliner. Pandas are cute, but you don’t want to look like one.
Your hair looks much better than you think it does, but that red dye job you want is a mistake you’ll spend years correcting.
Although you don’t think so, you’ll appreciate your mother’s wisdom most when you’re a mom yourself.
And even though you swear you won’t, before you hit forty you’ll also sound like your mother—especially when you hear her words come out of your mouth when you’re talking to your own daughter. Don’t panic because this ‘echo’ will make you surprisingly happy and be comforting, too.
Love and marriage
The first (or even second) guy you think you’re in love with isn’t your forever love, but there’s a wonderful man out there for you so listen to that little inner voice you often ignore.
He’s very good at math, though, which will be handy because although you swore you’d never again need high school algebra, it will one day make an unwelcome reappearance in your life.
Live in the moment…and be happy with what you have
Most things you’re worrying about will never happen. Things will happen that you could never have planned for, but you’ll somehow cope and survive them.
Live in the moment and “bloom where you’re planted” because time goes by in the blink of an eye, and you’ll never get those years of your early adulthood back.
And while you’re at it, start a gratitude journal and practice meditation. Your future mental health and stress levels will thank you.
Believe in yourself and be your own best cheerleader
However, if you truly believe in yourself, most things are possible—except for being a professional ballerina because sadly, you already know you’re too tall and your body isn’t bendy enough.
Yet, don’t be afraid to dream because even when times are dark, good things might be around the corner. Keep going and although persistence is usually a good thing, also don’t be afraid to change direction when you need to.
Keep reading, and keep writing your stories because although it seems unlikely, you’ll overcome the doubters to become a published author. Even the most horrendous day jobs and vile bosses will be fodder for your fiction.
Also, tuck away your ballet slippers. Someday you’ll dance again—in a place and as part of a life that despite its challenges, is better than you ever imagined it could be.
Love, future Jen.