Dear Younger Self,
You are always waiting — for the weekend; for the next holiday; for next year. In your mind you think that’s the key to when your life will be better and you will finally feel settled and content.
You try so hard to fit in. You are fighting against the grain on all accounts and bringing yourself nothing but disapproval every single day.
You hate your hair, your boobs, the fact that your ears stick out and your nose is a bit crooked.
You need to know those thoughts going through your head will continue to echo daily until you set them free. You think right now that the way you talk to yourself doesn’t matter. You are so sure approval from every outside source is the key, but I need to tell you something my dear, sweet younger self:
You are never going to get it.
You are never going to be what you aspire to be.
Believe me when I tell you, you will be fine with this fact.
There will come a day in your mid-thirties where you will just want to be happy. Your whole mind will change about the things that are important and what living really feels like. Then, it will keep getting better the more you practice living this way.
It feels like freedom and laughing about stupid shit you do and letting your belly hang out.
It feels like eating too much sometimes without beating yourself up and not trying so hard to fit into a container that was never made for you, my dear.
I wish it didn’t take you so long to get to this place — the start of your journey where you realize all those things you thought mattered really don’t. Honestly, though, you are never going to totally get there. You will still have days where dumb things and people hurt your feelings. You will still blame yourself when something goes wrong. You will still critique yourself when you glance in the mirror.
But it gets so much better than what you are putting yourself through now.
And I’m sorry I put you through as much as I did.
I now know that when something doesn’t feel like it’s working out, it’s okay to let it go, because better things are coming even though it hurts like hell.
I now know that sacrificing your mental health isn’t worth any relationship.
I now know that enjoying all the things you want in life — food, sex, spending a lazy day in your pajamas — doesn’t have to come with a penalty.
I now know that getting older is indeed a privilege, and I have no idea why I wasted so much time worrying about it.
I am not saying I have it all figured out. I am telling you there will come a time when you will feel more at peace, less afraid, and most of all, more like yourself than you ever have.
That feeling will have the power to make you do things like walk away, speak your mind, and not feel like you have to lose inches to fit into old clothes.
The fight you are fighting right now, the one that causes you to carry around a backpack of self-loathing with you every damn day, will slowly dissipate and you will think, Why did I do that for so long? Why did I put other people’s happiness before my own? Why did I think I had to suffer in order to be great and liked? Why didn’t I walk the fuck away from that situation sooner?
I’m so thankful to you for going through those lessons so that I could learn and blossom into the person that I am now. The one who stumbles and doesn’t care about bad hair days, or if people see her as a bitch for doing what she wants.
I am so glad you grew and changed and stopped trying to control things you couldn’t control.
I am able to remember you and be sorry and feel a tremendous amount of gratitude at the same time.
I am now at a place where I know life is a mixed bag of emotions. Some days, weeks, and months are going to feel like you are fighting for your head to stay above water. It’s hard and it sucks, but it’s okay. You will be okay.
You will stop expecting things to be pretty and bright all the time. You will stop being so hard on yourself. You will stop thinking you need to be everything you are not.
So, younger self, I’m trying to tell you to hang in there.
This week I turned 45 (I know) and I feel more amazing — and better than you do, if you can believe that (but I know you don’t).
I can’t change what I’ve put you through, or take it away. I can, however, let you know that when you stop waiting for the next thing to come along to take away the angst, and realize all this time all you needed was you, a better part of your life will begin.
Your 45-year-old self