I was just thinking how much I’ve changed since I was in my early twenties. All I cared about was having everything my parents had and more- while still in my twenties- and beating all my friends to it. How can I get there the fastest? How can I ‘show’ everyone how awesome/smart/amazing I am?! I can roll up to the valet in my car that’s better than theirs. I can point to the 5 carat ring on my hand and say my engagement ring is bigger than yours and it’s from a brain surgeon. Who is also hot. And look at me! I have an MBA at at 24! I’m smarter than all of you!
I would react in the most childish ways- if someone wronged me- you can bet I would let them know- and let them know good. Devising plans to egg his car, scream and shout “you ahole” with reckless abandon. Make hasty choices. Make dumb choices. Maybe a few smart choices in there but mostly dumb. Like most people in their early twenties- I had it all wrong. I was focused on the wrong things. Wanting things/appearing in ways that made me important to others.
Obviously, I had to live through all of that to be able to now look back and know that. But I thank God everyday I didn’t marry that brain surgeon. That I didn’t sink a bunch of cash into a vehicle outside of my price range. That while I did scream and shout – I learned from it. So here is what I would say.
Dear 25 Year Old Me,
I know patience is the lowest priority of your virtues, but one day you’ll have it. And as you get older, more of it will be required of you. If you have kids, friends, aging parents, customers… it all requires patience. So you may as well start now.
Stuff- stuff is just stuff. I know everyone says that, but it is. That cell phone you have will be obsolete in a couple of years. Rarely any of those trendy things you love to wear will last- either because the trend will fade, or it wasn’t great quality to being with. I know you live in LA and to show up with a fancy car is very important to people here. But which people? People who will advance you in your career? People you love? People you want to one-up? Instead of your car, look at the people… and look at yourself. Most of the stuff you want RIGHT NOW, you won’t remember wanting in ten years. Trust me on that.
Experience– you love travel. You love to learn. Keep doing that. Keep exploring. The more you do, the more you will realize how important traveling is in your life. And don’t be afraid to go alone. Don’t be afraid to go with people you don’t know. Love for exploration will far outweigh your fears- if you are willing to face them. You are going to have so many stories to tell. So many adventures people only dream of having. And they happen to you. And you’ll enjoy every one of them- if you see the opportunity for it- take it- it will be worth it… and you won’t regret a thing.
You don’t know everything– I swear to you, you really don’t. You may know more than a nineteen year old- but that doesn’t mean much. You will learn more about your life and yourself in the next ten years than in the previous twenty-five. Be open to what others have to say. Keep a conversation line open with your parents, with your elders, with your superiors in work. Don’t expect people to hand you promotions. You have to work for them. They don’t know you from anyone else- show your value, show your worth. And then you shall be recognized.
Love– is amazing and sucky. I know you just want to text (ok, so there was no texting in 2003) and call that guy who was a verbally abusive ahole who dumped you and tell him off. That doesn’t really help anything. Maybe it will make you feel better for a second, but that emptiness only goes away with time. Texting/calling/drive-bys only make you feel worse and paint you as a psycho. You will get over it. Trust me on this. And you will meet better, more wonderful guys, even though I know you don’t see it right now. And if you run into him? Don’t become an emotional mess. Don’t lash out. Be cordial. If he asks, then tell him, with dignity, “you really hurt me.” And that’s all you need to say. Yelling will reconfirm why he dumped you. Polite honesty might actually pull a sympathy string. Your other future ex-boyfriends will be more mature in your breakups- and so will you.
Oh, and about love- you will love and win and love and lose. Mainly lose. But don’t give up. Everyone will teach you a lesson. Trust me when I tell you, you want to wait at least ten years before you get married. You need it. Maybe others don’t, but you do. Until you know what you want, understand and love yourself the most you can- you aren’t ready for it. You just aren’t.
You will get everything you want and more. It goes back to that patience thing. Live each day enjoying what you do have. Reach for what you want, but know what you want first. That’s when things fall into place.
35 Year Old Me xo