A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Jessica Sprenkel, approached me with the idea that she write a letter to her 51 year old self for my blog audience. She is 25. I thought it was a great idea and thought it would be a great twist to write one to my 25 year old self and share it with her audience. Today’s Girl Talk is my letter. Next week, you will read Jessica’s letter. I hope this is food for thought, whether you are 25 or 51 or somewhere in between.
I’m writing to you to help you more comfortably get through the next few decades of your life. I am you at 51. Yes, one day you will be the ripe old age of 51, but I think it would really surprise you as to what it will be like. By the time you get here, 51 will be considered midlife, and you will be happier at midlife than you have ever been. In fact, the year that you will be 51 is the BEST year of your life for a variety of reasons. The main one is that you will have finally stepped into who you are and created a life you love. It’s not perfect, but you will love it.
I know the first thing you will want to know is if you will be married or in love. You won’t be. You will be very happily single. Don’t let that scare you because it is really, really good right now. You will have been married a couple of times, but they were both very challenging. If you are 25 now, you realize that you are not really happy in your first marriage. It will end eventually but not until you are ready, and you will re-marry to someone who will change your life. It will be a roller coaster of highs and lows, and you will have to navigate them. I would like to tell you how to handle the next couple of decades but that would defeat the purpose of living, and, if it changed who you are destined to be at 51, it would be a loss. But, I want to tell you a couple of things that will help you feel better and less afraid while you are going through this. That is the purpose of this letter.
There are only a few things I want to emphasize:
You look fabulous.
I know you think you are fat. That’s because you are comparing yourself to women whose body types are not like yours. You’ve also had men that you cared about tell you that you were fat. They were not telling you the truth. That was about making them feel superior. When you look at your pictures 10 years from now, you will realize how great you look right now. Yes, you are not perfect, but nobody is. That being said, you love being physically active. Eat healthfully for your health and try to avoid all that sugar you are consuming to mask your emotions. It will impact your health. Stay active for the joy of it. It keeps you sane, and you just love moving. Right now you don’t like it because you are obsessed with the outcome. Try to let that go and enjoy moving your body.
Save money for your retirement.
Okay, this is a little self-serving. And, you don’t have to be overly zealous. Have fun with your money but realize that you do need to take advantage of your 401ks. As of this point, you will be footing your own retirement bill, and you need more. And, you would really love to be free to make a move to do something different that doesn’t pay as much, but you really can’t do it on the track you are on. If you just start saving earlier, you should be fine. Oh, and your second husband is going to ask you to cash in one of your 401Ks to pay off some of his debt. DON’T DO IT!!!
Focus on your own growth, especially in regards to addictions.
You have some addictions. You already know that at 25. Right now, you don’t know what to do about it, and you are very scared. There is help out there. Remember that meeting you went to in college? Try it again. Just do what you need to do to fix it. You are on the right track, but you will be happier and make better decisions if you get diligent about giving up alcohol and sugar. Yes, sorry, honey, that chocolate that you eat is an addictive substance. The other addiction that you have that you will just need to work through is codependency. I know you don’t even know what that is right now. I’d tell you to Google it, but you’d have no idea what the hell that means. Do you remember that book that Sharon just gave you in Jacksonville called Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood? I think you put it somewhere because you were embarrassed about her giving it to you. Read it.…That recurring dream you have about your high school boyfriend is going to be a recurring life pattern with several men just like him. This book will help you navigate the path you need to take.
You are lovable and are loved intensely.
I know how much pain you feel about your shortcomings and how scared you are. I lived it. I’m here to tell you that you are lovable. You have great talent at a lot of things, and the irony is that you are very loved even though you feel unlovable. You want the men in your life to make you feel better about yourself, but they can’t, Honey. You have to do that for yourself. And, the men you are choosing aren’t capable of loving anyway, not in the way you need it. But, you are going to have to work through that. It’s not something I can tell you about, and you heal from it. You will have to do the work, and it is painful. But, it is so worth it on the other side. You will become a person that also helps others through the same thing, and you will see how wonderful you really are. Just stick with it. Use all the resources you have and keep building community with other women. You are about to meet some amazing women!
I know your dreams, and I know your heart. Some of your dreams will come true. You will live in a lot of different places. You will be active and healthy and have lots of friends. Some of your dreams won’t come true, at least not by the time you are 51. But, I know that the fear that you feel inside is about things that are not based in reality. You’ll have to do the work to figure it out yourself, but I think you’ll have more fun if you know that’s its all for a purpose, and you don’t really know what’s best for you. Be open to all the possibilities. Some of the best things in your life will be the things you could not have fathomed in your wildest dreams.
Oh, and wear lots and lots of sunscreen. Lather it on your face everyday. I know you think tan is beautiful, but in the long run, it’s not. I’m just sayin’.
I love you more than you can ever imagine.
Your 51 year old compassionate and loving self,