I had the opportunity to link up with a group of incredible moms to write a letter to my pre-baby self. I chose to write to myself in my twenties. It was amazing to consider how much I’ve changed and grown since that time, yet how connected I feel to the person I was at that time. As my mother always tells me, no matter how old you get, you still feel like your younger self.
I hope you enjoy and encourage you to visit the other posts by clicking the links at the end of this blog.
Helloooo from the other side!! Yup- future you is still a fan of pop music and a diehard overpunctuater who also gets a little offended when people have the nerve to respond to emails without the proper amount of reassuring exclamation points. You do manage to curb your obnoxious overuse of the word “literally”, which is a big feat.
Anyway, yes, it’s me. You.
Don’t worry, I won’t give away all the surprises but I do want to share a little insight with you, to help you out feel more settled in your now.
I love to look back on you like this. Anyone from the outside can see you’re having fun, but I know. You’re not carefree, and right now, you should be, because you can be. Alllll those worries linger in your mind constantly and really, they’re preventing you from being truly happy. Here’s a little spoiler alert: it all works out. I know you’re just hoping your life turns out as beautifully as your parents set you up for- but honey, because of how deliberately and lovingly they made you who you are, you have nothing at all to worry about. You’re your mom and dad’s child- you’re going to be FINE. Let go of the worries, or at least set them aside and be present.
You feel ashamed and guilty that your parents pay your rent- what you won’t understand until you’re much older is that it is their joy to help you- they want nothing more in the world than to help you. You’re not a burden. You’re their baby and you’re always going to be, even when you have your own babies. You won’t believe how much they worry about you, even then. Right now, they are happy to help you so that you can live this full life- full of college and waitressing and roommates and soulsearching. And they won’t be paying your rent anymore when you’re 30, I promise. You wish! 😉
A note on waiting tables- you’ll never believe this, but one day you’ll look back on it as one the most worthwhile jobs you ever held. Sure, you’ll have nightmares about it for the actual rest of your life and wake up so relieved that you didn’t just get triple-sat and then forget to put everyone’s order in. But as a mother, it’s the experience you’ll draw upon endlessly for having taught you patience, multitasking, and ways to appease irritable patrons. You’re an awesome server (and guess what- you end up being an awesome mother).
School may be on the back burner for you right now, but guess what- you end up earning a degree when the timing feels right for you. And people hire you and you get powerful positions and nothing will be perfect but you’ll learn more from the jobs you hold than you ever did at school. School is just a piece of paper. Work? You’ll get to travel and present big projects and your voice will matter.
You’re also get really frustrated and you’ll deal with a lot of sexism and office politics and bullshit. You’ll encounter mean, jealous girls along your way and you’ll learn that by being a little mean back to them, you’ll earn their respect. Stay away from women like that! They’re more dangerous than the men, a lot of the time. For the men, they may have no respect for women, but the women- they’re out for blood. Just because they decide that you’re cool enough to be in their circle does not mean that they’re cool enough to be in yours. Mean women are toxic. Cliques belong in middle school, not in adult life, and you’re above that. Stay in your lane, work hard, and don’t gossip or complain. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. You’re not there to make friends. You’re lucky- you have friends.
But sometimes, even though you’re surrounded by people, you feel like you’re destined to be a loner. You know you’re not the same as the other girls who seem like they’re in a rush to partner up and play house. Girl, you’re not going to have a semblance of solitude one day- you’re going to breastfeed two babies at a time and have someone sitting on your lap for every single meal, you’re going to sleep with your head on a nightstand as your toddler stretches his body diagonally across your bed and digs his heels into your ribs. Enjoy your takeout on the couch, enjoy the wine and candles and reading, truly enjoy living alone. You’ll look back on these short years as some of the best in your life.
That condo you bought ALL BY YOURSELF? You’ll be collecting rent checks on it one day. It was a GREAT investment. Possibly the smartest move you made in your 20’s (we won’t talk about the less smart ones here).
Except one. One really bad choice you made, we are going to talk about here. That really bad person who you fell in love with? Girl, after all those tears and all those fears- I’ve got to tell you how that ends up because I know that’s what scared you the most. You worried so much about if you’d ever be okay again.
You are better than ever after that. You’ll never know why that happened but you won’t be consumed with the WHY once you’re out of it. You’re more empathetic, more aware, more forgiving (because you saw how every single good person in your life forgave you for making that shitty choice). The years you spent suffering will always be a part of you, but you will be whole and happy and FINE. Even when you think that’s impossible, just trust me on this. It ends and you become you again and every single wonderful person in your life loves you just the same and nobody treats you like you’re broken.
In fact, every relationship you’ve been in, you’ve learned from. Even if there was pain caused on either side, you will emerge from those relationships a little better and a little wiser. Keep trying and stay open. Not all relationships are the same, in fact no two people are the same. You’ll also be affecting that other person’s relationship trajectory for the future, so be kind.
You’ll find that forever person and he’s right on time. You weren’t ready for him before, but when he shows up, you realize why it didn’t work with anyone else.
You know that day you decide you’re going to adopt a kitten to keep you company? And that kitten becomes like a baby to you? That’s maternal instinct, babe. You have no idea that you’re going to call the vet’s office one day and ask the vet to change your cat’s last name because you got married, or that he’s going to be snuggling on your pregnant belly, or that your future kids are eventually going to fight over taking turns to feed that cat, and they’re going to ask you to open the baby gate when that cat can’t jump over it anymore because he’s gotten older and less limber. And that when those kids are asleep, that cat is going to find you wherever you are in the house and purr loudly on your lap and share a run of Cool Whip with you, you’re going to distractedly pet him and vaguely remember the days when he was all you had.
Those kids are going to be your purpose. You think you know love but the love you feel for those humans is impossible to understand until you feel it. You’ll feel like your heart is growing and breaking and bursting at the seams all at once, every single day. This love, it’s so good it hurts. Their laughter will be music. Their smiles will be heaven. Their tears will physically pain you. You’ll love so damn hard and you’ll miss them when they sleep. Don’t worry, they’ll sleep like shit, so you won’t have to miss them too often. 😆
Keep trying to find the thing that you’re GREAT at. The only way to know is to try. Meaning actually try. Quiet those voices that tell you you can’t. You seem to always believe that those are the voices of others, but those are really only your voice. You can bravely try and gracefully move on if it’s not for you but you won’t regret having tried.
Your weight will go up and down. You’ll have great hair moments and pretty unfortunate ones (bangs should be left in toddlerhood for 99% of women; you’re one of them). You’ll get lots of compliments at times about your looks and then, suddenly you’ll realize you get none anymore, and you’ll feel bad. Compliments don’t define you. You are more than what you look like at a given moment. You’re never going to look like Britney Spears, so stop doing all those crunches (only kidding- stop stressing about the fact that instead of doing crunches you’re eating bacon egg and cheeses at 5:30 in the morning when you’re still awake from the night before). Future you is up at 5:30 in the morning from the night before for very different reasons, and luckily she’s (mostly) got a grip on the food thing. So indulge indulge indulge, pass out in your bed with crumbs all over, and sleep it off. You have that luxury. Don’t feel bad about yourself. Your beauty comes from within yourself.
Keep investing in your family and friends. They’re the only sure thing. Give all you can.
Drink water. Be nice to your parents. Listen to your mother. She’s got your best interest at heart and she’s pretty much always right. Take 2 Advil before you go to sleep after a night of drinking.
Since I started this off with a pop music lyric, my last line will be one as well:
When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.