Self-ImprovementGrowing Up

10 Things I Would Say To Myself Over The Course Of The Last 10 Years

Age 18

You are, by no means, ready for marriage when you still use your daddy’s credit card to buy a new shirt from the mall. You’re mature in many different ways — obtaining a job, getting good grades, loving school. But, the kind of maturity you have at 18-years old isn’t applicable to becoming a wife, moving to another country or making major sacrifices. You’re sacrificing your future, even though you may not realize it quite yet. That marriage – that husband – is not who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. But that’s okay. This love will teach you such a prolific lesson that will change every relationship you have moving forward.

Age 19

You are not ready to start a family and everyone around you realizes that. You’re only doing this because it’s what every other young, military couple does. That baby you’re trying for is only to help save your marriage. It’s only meant to give you the love you’ve missed out on. Having a child would be the biggest mistake of your life. 

Age 20

Your mom will get diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and you won’t see her until at least six months into her treatment. You’ll begin realizing that the choices you made two years earlier are coming around to haunt you. You want more from your life. That’s good, because you’ll eventually get it.

Age 21

You’ll see your mom’s bald head for the first time, take your first legal sip of alcohol and get divorced. You’ll claim you’re fine, but you’re working a shitty retail job, living in your childhood bedroom, heartbroken, chugging back an entire bottle of wine in one night. That marriage wasn’t for you, but you’re devastated by the loss of it, the comfort. 

Age 22

You’ll land your first grown-up job making $12 an hour. You see the trajectory of your future and think that maybe you can see yourself working in Human Resources forever. You feel like you’re an adult now, but you’re still so far from it. You waste time on guys who look at you as nothing more than somebody to fuck. You have no idea what real love feels like yet, and truthfully, you’re not ready to. You still have a lot of work to do on yourself before falling in love.

Age 23

You’ll end your friendship with your best friend over her pregnancy. You won’t be happy for her; you’ll be bitter. Bitter that all your friends are finding love and moving forward but you’re in a loveless, unhappy rut. Your job is going fine, but there’s something missing. You think a 2:00am text message is a compliment. You have no idea how to get where you want to be yet.

Age 24

You’ll break up with your future husband twice in one week, claiming he’s moving too fast. All he wants to do is make you his girlfriend, maybe kiss you. You’ll fight every urge you have to fall for him because he’s unlike the rest. He wants to get to know what’s in your heart, your mind. He wants to be a part of your future. Let him. He will be the one to urge you into publishing your first article. He will be the one who supports you, loves you, in every way you’ve always craved. He will be the one who reminds you that everything you want from life is in reach.

Age 25

You’ll have gotten over your insecurities of putting your words out there. Your fiance will have helped you with that. He’ll help you with your PTSD diagnosis, but it won’t be easy. You’ll chase your dreams of working for a magazine, publishing articles and getting featured in an actual book. Life is starting to move forward in a beautiful way. For the first time in seven years, you’re over the moon with excitement and hold zest for life.

Age 26

Your mother’s going to die. You’ll quit your job of four years and leave on bad terms, taking the first receptionist job you’re overqualified for. You’ll take a hiatus from school. You’ll lose your magazine job. You’ll stop writing. This will be the hardest year of your life. Everything you’ve known, everything you’ve lived by will be thrown out the window.

Age 27

Things will start to get marginally better. You’ll land your first full-time position in what you went to school for. You’ll try your hand at painting, despite not being very talented. You’ll take many trips – Portland, Boston, New York, Florida – but none of them are going to make your happy. You’re stressed over planning a wedding you’re too heartbroken to enjoy. All you want to do is be yourself again, but you have no idea who she is anymore. You’ll blow through money at an outrageous speed.

Age 28

Three months after getting married, your dad will get diagnosed with cancer and it’ll send you spiraling into a dark, depressive space. You’ll have the “victim” mentality, constantly asking yourself how this could be fair? Why is all of this happening to you? You’ll succeed at work, but you’ll still feel lost, stagnant. You’ll attend grief counseling. But you’ll put the work in to get yourself mentally healthy this time. You’ll start writing again. You’ll start taking ownership for what the grief did to you — and those you love. You’ll dedicate yourself to realizing you need to move forward. And you will.

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Mid-twenties something navigating through life one cup of coffee at a time. Read more articles from Courtney on Thought Catalog.