Sunday, September 13, 2015

a letter to my 20-year old self.

Dear [20-Year Old] Adrienne:

You made it! Today is your 30th birthday.

You have officially been alive 10,957 days... three decades... 30 years! Life is a lot different in 2015 than it was in 2005. I'm writing you today, ten years in the future, so you have a glimpse of what your life looks like. Spoiler alert: it's absolutely nothing like you imagined!

I'm not entirely sure where to start, so I'll just start from the beginning...

That guy? You don't end up marrying him. And that's all I will say about that. It's for the better... trust me. 

Because of that first part, you will suffer heartbreak. It will rock your world. It will be devastating for you, and you will hold on for far too long. Because of that, you will only yourself hurt more and more... but it will end. And oh my dear, by the end of it all, you will be so much stronger than you can ever imagine. You will hardly recognize yourself. And you will carry that strength throughout the course of your twenties, right into your thirties.

The next ten years will be SO. MUCH. FUN. College especially is the highlight of this decade, and with good reason. You will make lifetime friendships. You will get an education. You (yes, you!) will be a part of an honor's sorority. You will work really hard in school, and it will pay off. You will play really hard in school, and it will pay off. You will have the perfect balance of both. Your 9th grade speech teacher told you that you were smart... but that you pretend not to be. You thought she was way off base. Guess what? She wasn't. You are smart, Adrienne. You just try to hide it sometimes. 

One of the greatest things in your life will happen in your mid-twenties: you will loose 50 pounds. I know... I know... from where you're sitting right now, you can't believe it. Fortunately, you have never suffered self-esteem issues because of your weight, but you won't be bound by where you can shop or what you are capable of doing. You will remember all of the people growing up who said nasty things about you: from being told in kindergarten that you were fat and always would be to being told at 15 years old that you needed liposuction. You knew none of that ever mattered -- but you are so much healthier now. You've kicked your Diet Coke addiction, had a brief stint with vegetarianism, and you actually pay attention to what you're eating. Not only do you eat lettuce now, you LOVE salads! On the flip side... you still have a full set of sweet teeth and will eat chocolate out of the trash can if you had to. Some things don't change.

You'll travel abroad and finally get to see Italy. It will be a humbling and life-changing experience. Throughout the years, you will learn about other cultures, other religions, other ways of living. You'll free your mind and confuse everything you ever knew -- in the best possible way! There are a lot of things to learn... never stop learning them.

Somewhere during the course of these last ten years, you will learn how to say NO. It will be confusing and uncomfortable at first. You will agonize every time you say it, worry about it, and sometimes come screeching back in to save the day and do whatever monumental task you really didn't want to do in the first place. It's challenging, but you'll start to prioritize and find out what you can and cannot do... what you should and should not do. You aren't a bad person for saying no. You still need to remind yourself of this -- you're getting better, but you're still a work in progress. :)

On that same token, just remember that you don't always have to listen to other people. You really don't. You spend a lot of years doing what other people tell you - and you shouldn't. Don't let other people manipulate you or tell you how you should feel. Stand up for yourself. Stand firm in what you believe in, even if you're the odd man out.

You don't live in Texas anymore! You love and miss the Lone Star State, and you might live there again someday... but right now, you don't.

You haven't done anything crazy, but then again you have. You've never been sky-diving or been arrested, but you've moved 1,300 miles away from home to a place you've never been, without a job lined up, and you lived in a hotel for three months. What the hell were you thinking? Guess what, though? It works out. You got a job that you hated at first, but you stuck with it -- you worked your way up and you recently got a promotion. You might not be here forever, but you've got something to hang your hat on. We all know how hard you are on yourself, but you're proud of what you've accomplished in your career. Congratulations, Adrienne. You've worked really hard to be where you are, and you've done it on your own. 

You make a really good margarita and you have perfected the chocolate chip cookie. Don't underestimate these skills.

You have a few wrinkles and a few age spots. Thank goodness for concealer -- this is quickly becoming your new best friend. You've had some health concerns... particularly in the last year. You're OK, though... just keep taking care of yourself. Everything else will work itself out.

Girl, you finally develop some sense of style! Even though you love your clearance bin finds (you still don't pay full price for a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g!) you make it your own, and you learn how to dress yourself. We were all worried about you for a while there... but you come out alright. You prefer to wear Nike shorts, free t-shirts, and flip-flops and in your perfect world, that's still all you would ever wear. 

Let me stop right here and say that not everything has changed! You still have a heart for animals, and I swear it gets bigger and bigger with every passing year. Purple is still your favorite color, and I believe it always will be. You carry your love of horror movies right into the new decade. You are still a crafty person and get a ridiculous high about starting a new project. You still tease your hair and people will NEVER stop giving you grief about it -- don't listen to them. Rock on. Oh, you are so competitive -- that hasn't changed, either.

Guess what? You didn't fulfill your dream of having two kids by the age of 32... in fact, it looks like that's about the time you'll just be getting started! And it's OK.  You've done a lot of other things!

Ah yes... I saved the very best for last. :) You got married this year. You wouldn't guess to whom in a million years but you've already met him at 20 years old. He makes you laugh, he takes care of you, and you both have so much fun together! He totally gets you and this is huge -- because you're kind of complicated. He says you're "a mystery wrapped in a riddle". He's right -- you are. :)

The last 10 years have been a wild ride - lots of ups and downs, lots of joy and lots of pain. But it's been a beautiful journey! Cheers to the next 70 years!

I love you.

The [30-Year Old] Adrienne

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