A Letter To My 20-Year Old Self From My 26-Year Old Self

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Listen, you buy too much shit you don’t need and spend carelessly. Keep that up and you’ll become broke. You WILL become broke. However in being a penniless fool you will learn that all the best and most beautiful things don’t cost money – like laughter with friends, sunsets, and your favorite song on the radio.

Remember when you were a kid and you used to love to play in the mud and get soaked in the rain and climb trees? You forgot about that as you became preoccupied with growing up. Stop being preoccupied with growing up. Don’t stop being a kid. However, you will also learn to love the things that older people love – classical music, cats, salad, black coffee, stillness – but not red wine. You will never be so sophisticated as to like red wine.

You will discover yoga and Buddhism and Taoism and other isms. There is not just the godly and godless. Know that just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that you have lost your sense of wonder and understanding of your fellow human. You have not lost that spiritual connection to the universe. You will find your way back to nature and it will bring you peace.

You’re anxious about life. You want to be free and leave home. You will get do that, and you will not know what to do with freedom. Don’t worry though — you will figure it out after a while.

Okay don’t get too excited with what I’m about to tell you, but you’re going to Paris! I know it’s hard to comprehend that right now, how you can ever afford to go there as you’re living in an impoverished Eastern country, but you’ll make it work and it. will. be. amazing. You will cry as you walk its cobblestone streets and smell the glorious Parisian air atop Montmartre. You will savor every second you’re in the Paris metro listening to all these French people speak French things to one another. There, you will meet fellow travelers who will remind you of how wonderful it is to explore the world with friends and kindred spirits. You will learn that no matter the cultural differences, there’s always a Big Mac on the McDonald’s menu in every country. Paris will change your life. Anytime you feel anxious or hopeless or sad about the state of your being, you will always think ‘I had Paris’ and instantly feel better. Then, a few years later, it will suddenly dawn upon you that your mom left because she had a Paris that she was dreaming of as well. You are your mother’s daughter, but you don’t share her destiny. Nor your father’s.

Speaking of Big Macs: you’re not fat. You’re freaking fabulous. You’re just a little soft cause you don’t move much and your body was meant for movement.

Right at this moment, however, you’re not too peachy. You’re full of cynicism and your heart is closed.  You feel like there is nothing interesting in the world and you’re bored. All the time. Get your head out of your ass and look up the night sky. Let it knock your socks off. 

You look like someone who’s got a raging silent storm beneath a stoic facade; like someone who doesn’t belong anywhere, the odd one out. You’ve felt like this all your life, empty and overwhelmed at the same time. You decided that maybe you were just born this way, or born in the wrong year, or born on the wrong planet. You feel like your life is an anomaly, so you spend endless hours distracting yourself from living. You will wonder why you weren’t destined for the good life; the one that you see in movies, read in books, and experience through other people’s eyes.

Hang in there.

It will take you a decade to wake up to the truth that your life is not “out there”. It’s here, happening right now as you sit in a corner daydreaming, as you walk the halls with your pink backpack wondering about your future. Slowly, over time and over many things you give up and lose, you will gain the insight that you cannot live someone else’s life and that in reality you never wanted to. You thought you did because that was easier than building the one you have always wanted for yourself.

It will be a journey to get there. You will start and stop, start and stop, start and stop, but don’t give up on starting. You have to change your life. Keep trying until one day you will surprise yourself by seeing something through. Be proud of that. Know that no matter how hard it gets that you have to keep going. You can’t go back to the way you were before and you can’t stay stuck where you are. You have to reach. Keep reaching. Reach for people, reach for love, reach for the life you were meant to live.

PS

I love you. Do you know that? I love you. It took me a while to realize it cause I thought you odd, broken, and unlovable. I was wrong. All that has made me love you more. It wasn’t on your own merit that I loved you. I love you because I choose you. We are all made of love and light, but we try to protect it from the outside world and build walls around ourselves when in reality there is nothing to protect. Love is more powerful than anything else in the world, so there is nothing to fear. Don’t be afraid to love. Love with all your heart. All. Your. Goddamn. Heart. That’s how we roll. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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