A Letter To Who I Was Five Years Ago

Andrew Phillips
Andrew Phillips

Hey you mess,

So you’re in your last year of college. Congrats, you’re almost done! You’re gonna feel like you need to have your shit together before you graduate because a few of your friends already got job offers and you’re struggling to even get through phone interviews. Don’t worry because five years from now you’re going to breeze through longer phone interviews and say, with confidence, how much it’ll take for you to leave your current job – not including commission. That, and you’ll start to lead conference calls, which you’re going to dread from time to time but you just did one yesterday and it went really well.

You’ll go on your first date – with a girl – right after graduation, and realize that this makes sense. This is the exciting feeling Cady Heron felt when she talked to Aaron Samuels in Calculus. Definitely something different compared to when you went on three dates with that kid in the Honors program who would later come out too…or that short guy you met at the Vampire Weekend show at Radio City. They were nice but the excitement you get from dating women is going to be very much different than how you feel when you hang out with your male friends, which you’ll grow to have many because you’re funny and have a great personality. And what guy doesn’t want an attractive girl to watch football with? Platonically duh.

You’ll also experience the excruciating confusion of what ghosting means, what a catfish really is, the complexity of cryptic texts, and basically heartbreak in every aspect of the word. These themes will be revisited throughout your years of dating. You won’t let it stop you though. Stay with me.

You’re going to find what really interests you professionally. You didn’t learn it in school and you had this stereotypical vision of the Advertising industry that won’t be so much what you’re doing now. It’s going to be much better. You’ll still have to earn your wings, climb the ladder like everyone else (and also take out the trash at your internship next semester – you’re only gonna be there for four months but you’ll learn a lot. Actually, you’re not going to use anything you learn there in the future but the agency was cool because they let you wear jeans every day and have an office dog). What you’re doing now will open many doors and people will start to notice. Not everyone is going to understand what you do, but that’s what makes you so unique. And you thoroughly enjoy doing something that not everyone knows how to do. Because you’re like that and you like to be different (*insert self-deprecating eye roll*).

You’re going to take risks – you’re going to say no when it’s really hard. There will be those very rare occasions where you’ll put yourself first and say, “Hey, this isn’t okay and I don’t appreciate that.” You’ll stick up for yourself both in the conference room and in relationships. You had a sense of this when you yelled at dad that one time after Christmas. You know, right after that ironic thing happened when you went to a few house parties near UD. Don’t worry shit happens. That, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But you’re not dad. You’re you and you have this golden opportunity to be more than the experiences that have happened to you so far. So stick with it even when it seems too hard to put your foot down.

You’re going to have this sense of always having to communicate your feelings. And it’s going to be fucking annoying sometimes. It’ll start arguments; it’ll confuse the hell out of some people, and nine times out of ten you’re going to cry doing it. You put other people’s feelings first so you’re going to struggle getting your point across. It’s not always going to be pretty or understood. But you’re going to do it anyway because later on in life, a sense of understanding becomes more important than what someone does for a living or what kind of past they had. You’ll also realize you’re not really good at arguing so instead of lashing out you step back, go for a run, and hope for the best. But you’ll still cry, which is why listening to Taylor Swift will make you feel a lot better.

You’re also going to get hurt from dating. So much so that you start to dread the thought of it. But you do it anyway because mourning a lost love is temporary and being single becomes “boring” (yes, you’re Hannah Horvath and you want someone who only wants you and only wants to sleep with JUST YOU). You push yourself forward even when that first date turns out to be a wasted $70 on someone you won’t ever see again. You also will be very broke at times because you insist on paying for the first date. Every time. Except two.

You’ll eventually stop reading your horoscope because you’ll realize you’re in control of your destiny and the Universe always has your back. Being an Aries shouldn’t matter how your day ends up or who you end up being with. We’re all stubborn so who cares. And rams are sexy in a weird way. You might still read it once in a while just to confirm that.

There will be some things that won’t change. You’re still a planner for the most part. You still calculate risk but you’re learning to let go of being in control. You’ll also still have that gap-tooth because veneers are expensive as fuck and you’d rather save money for a date or a trip abroad. But really you’re gonna spend it taking Uber all the time.

You’ll think about old relationships even in your new ones from time to time. Taking lessons you’ve learned with you. Reflecting on who you were and improving yourself but still not let go of those quirks and amazing qualities that make you someone worth being with. Your standards will remain high as they should, but your level of empathy will improve. Emotional connection will become a requirement while physical appearance will be added bonuses to the array of beautiful women you will go on to date. They will all teach you something even when you think otherwise, especially when it comes to patience.

Your five-year plan will change from being married by a certain age to working hard enough to get a place with an in-unit washer AND dryer. That, and getting another cat because giving DJ to your mom actually makes her really happy since you don’t go home as much as you used to.

Right now, your life is overwhelming. You don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t know where you’re going. You have a lot of feelings swimming around in your brain and chest and it’s definitely not from your period. But you booked a trip to Boston so you’re on a train right now. The weather is crisp and it’s the kind of fall morning where you wake up feeling like everything will eventually be okay. Everything will fall into place. Leaves will change color and blow through the wind. And you will be fucking okay. TC mark

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