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To the 19-year-old me

A friend recently asked me: “If you could talk to the 19-year-old you, what would you tell her?” And I’ve not stopped thinking about it since. Here is my response …

  1. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, about the “perfect” plan you’re laying out for your life will turn out the way you’re hoping. And oh, girl–will that suck. And sometimes it will hurt–badly. BUT. It WILL be okay. I promise. In the end, your life will be more colorful than you can even imagine. You will have experiences you can’t even dream up right now. You will see things and be a part of things that will settle into your bones and propel you forward with passion. You will meet really important people, people who will change your life and come to mean the world to you. And you wouldn’t have met them if things turned out the way you wanted. Just go with it. Get mad when you need to get mad, and cry when you need to cry. We’re not really good at not getting our way, I know. And like I said, it will hurt. And sometimes it’ll be hard. But getting mad and being sad, is okay. Don’t forget that, yeah? Just … every once in a while, take step back and look at the gorgeous, interesting, successful, heartbreaking, happyful life you’ve been given because, AND ONLY because, your plan didn’t turn out. I promise. It really is better than you can plan yourself.
  2. Trust your instincts and your follow your tastes. Who cares what other people think? Learn how to be yourself sooner. I spent a long time not doing what I wanted to do and not being who I wanted to be because I was too worried about everyone else.
  3. Take “just because” classes at college. At least one a semester. There are so many things to learn and so many things that interest you. Just learn.
  4. DO THE STUDY ABROAD.
  5. Start a savings account. Seriously. Start. a. savings. account.
  6. Be nicer to your skin, especially the skin around your eyes. Don’t tug on it as much as you do, and don’t forget to wash your face every night, and for heaven’s sake–moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
  7. Don’t listen to your parents. Join the Peace Corps.
  8. The heartbreak will pass. Really. It will. And actually, you’d be smarter to not fall for him in the first place. That was one of the stupidest choices I ever made. So yeah. Just don’t go there.
  9. Keep a journal. Seriously. Keep a journal.
  10. Learn how to talk to Heavenly Father. Like for real talk. Not the stupid, pointless, repetitive prayers you pray most of the time. Learn how to have an actual conversation with Him and learn how to hear Him. Listen more.
  11. Enjoy every second of that summer fling you’ll have with the Frenchman. And in fact–kiss him more than you already will. And don’t ever regret it. Don’t let yourself think that it “wasn’t the best idea.” Because you were living. Honest to goodness living. And you were experiencing all sorts of tastes and sights and sounds and feelings that will make you a richer woman in the long run.
  12. Don’t get those bright, chunky blonde highlights. Just don’t do it. It’s a horrible idea.
  13. Learn how to exercise. You have been battling your body long enough. Save yourself from another decade of war. Be better to it. Stop hating it. And love it.
  14. Read more.
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4 Comments

  1. I knew the 19 year old you and she was pretty awesome. But I’m pretty sure the you now is even better. Love this & Love you!

  2. I read this a long time ago, and never said anything til now . . .Interesting you would say you weren’t comfortable in your own skin, because I was always impressed by your ability to confidently say what you liked and didn’t. “I like N’ Sync, they’re awesome.” Who cares if some people thought that was silly or uncool? Nobody could argue with your confidence. I was impressed, and for years you have inspired me to do the same!

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