The other day, I was reading through the list of blogs that I check on a daily basis, and came across this post over at Chookooloonks. To say that Karen operates on another plane would not be an exaggeration… She communicates such beauty and wisdom each day on her blog, and I feel justified in saying those are the very reasons I read it. Obviously I read Jenny Lawson and Allie Brosh because I know that they’ll make me incontinent with laughter on a daily basis. I read Julia for her beautifully written yet hysterically funny accounts of her family, and Aunt Becky for her humor and irreverence. MaryMac contributes to my daily “naughty” quotient, and Amalah and Audrey are women who inspire me.
A young woman named Cassie Boorn has asked bloggers to write letters to the 20-year-old version of themselves, and shares these on her site.
While I’m not even out of my 20s yet, I still feel that the last 7 years have been such an incredible transformation, and wanted to take the time to examine myself through this lens.
Dear Brooke at 20,
I sincerely wish that I could give you the hugest hug right now, sweet girl. That is what you are, after all- so unbelievably sweet and trusting. Don’t change those things about yourself, even though they’re going to get you hurt in ways that you can’t imagine right now.
You never learned to guard your heart before you departed your small town for college, and that has allowed you to love and feel pain in equal measure. If you’re still contemplating changing your major to vocal performance, don’t do it. It’s a great opportunity, but with the right amount of motivation you can get the same educational experience with your music ed major. I know it’s hard to turn that down when you have professionals urging you to take that leap, but it’s for the best.
Take some time to explore what you’re best at- you’ve always loved English and excelled at it. Why else are you sitting in a senior-level Romantic Poetry class right now? You’re going to meet an incredible professor who will have such faith in your abilities. Pick up an English minor- take it from someone who knows. You will regret it if you don’t.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. When you start feeling like you might not have the drive to make it as a professional singer, and need to take a year off after graduation, that is NOT A BAD THING. Forgive yourself for needing that time. You haven’t enjoyed these years of constant competition and criticism, and that is ok. You may go back and complete your Master’s degree or you may not. That is ok too. You may fall into a profession when you experience the panic of “oh crap, I need a JOB!” that you will find is just as fulfilling and challenging as what you imagined being a starving artist would be. You will ALWAYS find your way back to music, and on your terms. That is the way to guarantee that you get the most enjoyment out of doing something that you love.
In regards to Tuba Guy, who you are aching for—let him go. He is extremely damaged and you can not fix him. He will continue to carelessly hurt you over the years, until you take the initiative to stop him. You’ll recognize how little he valued the trust that you placed in him, and the love that you freely gave, and realize that you deserve BETTER.
Shady Guy? Don’t do it. Run the other way. He is incapable of being faithful. There’s very little good that will come from that situation.
Don’t be too hard on Drummer Guy. He may lack motivation, but he really cares about you, and that will mean the world after what Tuba Guy has put you through. He will restore your faith in love and other people, if you let him. When you part ways, it is a good thing. Don’t fight it, but look back fondly and thank him for the gift that he gave you.
Skip right over Surfer Guy, please. He’s another that will lead you down the wrong path. And if you choose to ignore this, because you are so wildly attracted to him that you can’t think straight, take this one piece of advice: DO NOT USE THE BATHROOM IN THE WOODS. Or if you do?? BRING NAPKINS IN YOUR PURSE. You would be a total failure on “Man vs Wild.” Don’t try to persuade yourself otherwise.
Jazz Guy will come along within a few months and teach you so much about yourself. Right now, you still think that you’ll only be able to marry a man with a college degree, like yourself, preferably in music or the arts, because what on earth would you have in common if you didn’t?! Having things in common is so much less important than having common goals. Let the first breakup be the end of things… You’ll have much more peace that way.
Being single is the best time that you will have in your life. It is your time to be completely selfish and do whatever you want to when you want to. Indulge yourself. Try those things that you always wanted to. You will love sushi, and yoga, and movies with yourself. You’ll stand on the banks of Lake Placid watching the fog rise off the Adirondacks as the day begins, and be filled with an incredible sense of peace. It will be the best vacation you ever take.
When you start considering online dating?! GO FOR IT. While people may laugh now, it is a fearless and ballsy move and will give you plenty of entertaining stories. In the next few years, when others start trying it, you’ll be a guru of sorts, letting them know what is and isn’t ok. There’s no taboo anymore- mature, single men are few and far between. Taking control of your life in that way is a good thing.
You will meet the right one when he comes back into your life after a long absence. Trust your instincts, because they are right. You both have grown into each other’s “person”, and he will make you VERY happy.
Most of all, enjoy this time. Dance and party more while you are young and safe and the worst consequences that you may face are a hangover in the morning. Fight hard to stay in touch with your friends. It’s hard to keep those relationships after college, but it is worth it. Get your bellybutton pierced. Paint your toenails blue more often. Always do what makes you happy, and stop caring what others think about it.