One of my university friends had a "no regrets" policy in her life. I so admired her stance that I have attempted to live this out in my own story as much as possible. There is so little to be gained from wallowing in the mistakes of the past, so much to be said for living in today.
I am grateful for what those bloody mistakes have taught me; I'm moving on.
That being said, I'm not going to lie- if I had the Back to the Future chance to visit last decade and gift my overall-wearing, pigtail-rocking self a handwritten letter, I would do it in a heartbeat. Snail mail is under-valued these days anyway.
And I would say....
If I could wish anything for you in this time, it's that you would know yourself a bit better. All the people around you are telling you who you are-funny, quirky, this, that and that other thing. And you're letting them.
Shame on you.
Stand up and walk into the personhood that is you. Embrace the quirkiness-that's so true. But don't be held back by the expectations and dictations of others. They know so little of what's inside you.
But I see it; I know.
Girl, you've got to let it shine.
Read a few more books to expand your horizons just a reach further; watch the news more often too.
Sit with your elders and ask them questions for hours on end. Then go back and do the same tomorrow.
Don't hold on to friendships so valiantly-the ones worthwhile will stick and will pursue you too.
Go on some dates; you'll like it, I promise.
Save more money. You think you do, but you don't. And then don't spend your savings. On anything.
Spend more money; you give yourself too little. Actually buy some clothes you like and don't think about it twice.
Stop wrinkling your forehead 54 times a day; you will inevitably regret it in your 30s when the wrinkle lines cease to disappear though your forehead is un-crinkled.
Take more internships during your university years and don't look back. Study abroad too. You can never travel too much.
Read The Hunger Games + sequels. Do not (I repeat, do not) read Insurgent + sequels. Go ahead, watch the movies if you must, sure.
Don't consider marriage until you are at least 25; just take it off the table completely. It's okay for other people, but not for you.
Stop being so scared.
We will always (always, always) love the South. But gurrrlllllll, you have got to stop loving the food. Lay that fork for your casserole aside and grab an apple; heck, grab three. You're welcome.
Learn to say "No"-it will change your life in a myriad of beautiful ways.
Stop saying "Sorry" all the time; you're not destined for Canada for almost a decade yet to come. Besides, you have nothing to be sorry about.
Learn to listen.
Slow down while you're at it.
Do as much as you can in your 20s; by your 30s you will love any combination of nights at home, quaint dinner parties and jogging pants for days on end. So live it up, every single day-turn your face to the sun and just let go.
Wine with dinner is lovely.
You should always have cookie dough in the freezer, all ready and expectant for surprise guests.
Don't overcomplicate your journey. It all comes down to this-loving God and loving people. So simple, yet so complex. God will ask for everything and it will hurt like hell, this dying to self. But it will be the Very Best thing too. It is so worth it.
Loving people is a bit trickier-you don't know yet how much they will betray you and hurt you and stab you in the heart a thousand times over.
They will. Just take a deep breath, forgive them
then walk away and don't look back. As much as you'll long to become cynical, don't. It's not worth it.
And the loving of people can be gorgeous too. You will have friends from many walks of life; take the time to learn that they process and think differently than you. Ask them questions and take the time to love them the way they receive love. Work on understanding before you make yourself understood. Learn to love them well.
And, this too-dance a bit more often, with abandon. You hold too much back now, but you'll be happier once you let go.
It seems, for someone not having regrets, I would do a few things differently in another lifetime.
Alack, alas. And so it goes.
Send me the letter you'd write to your ____-year-old self and I'll publish my favourites.
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