I’ve been thinking alot about my life these days. Hell, when do we ever NOT think about it I suppose. But more specifically how I lived my life pre-30 and how I live my life now post-30. So I thought it would be fun to write a letter directed to my younger pre-30 self on things I wished I knew THEN that I know now. Perhaps one day I can give this letter to my (imaginary future) daughter and spare her the pain of what we think will occur during and post-30 time frame.
First off — do not dread or be scared of your 30s because what is to come albeit challenging — will be the most exciting and fun times compared to your 20s. So dear young Emily, please don’t think once 30s hit there is this dreadful “you are going to die on your 30th birthday and everything just goes downhill” moment. On the contrary, so much falls into place and opens up in terms of career, decisions, and personal life.
Second — keep exercising even thought I know you are quite the lazy bum in your 20s and its so damn easy to get away with shoveling those extra food calories with no remorse. But you’ll thank me later when you reap the benefits of a healthy and fit body. It is definitely true — if you feel fit and young — you look fit and young.
Third — minimize and avoid sun exposure. Now I know living in south Florida brings with it the inevitable increased sun exposure compared to the rest of the nation — but limit this please and be sure to wear a healthy dose of sunscreen daily. You and your extended youthful skin will thank me later. Hydrate and drink lots of water.
Fourth — move even though you are frightened to leave all your friends in south Florida. Let go of those insecurities and worries that come with the territory of being young — doubting major and massive change. Leave your job (you’ll really thank me for that one) and make the dream a reality to move or explore wherever in the world. Do not be afraid.
Fifth — embrace love and don’t be scared to fail. With each encounter, date, relationship — even though you will hate it — will bring you closer to understanding yourself as a person. You will learn what holds dear to your heart in people (be it for love or friendship) — in terms of their character, kindness, honesty, and selflessness. So don’t take it personally when relationships fail — people come in and out of our lives for certain blocks of time. You learn this quite quickly I’m afraid. But don’t see this and be sad. Instead, embrace it and enjoy their company for whatever time (long or short) and celebrate the moment.
Sixth — never lose sight of yourself in any relationship. Make those mistakes early and be proud of them. Don’t hide from them. These are badges of honor and a mark of how you lived. Hold fast to those colorful crazy stories and just laugh — do not shudder.
Seventh — its ok to travel now because as you get older you acquire more important responsibilities so this will become more difficult. Do it now while you and your friends can still revel in that freedom sans marriage and babies to tie you down.
Eighth — remember to tell your loved ones (parents, brother, friends) you love them and appreciate them. During times of stress and frustration — they will be your rock and stand by you. Do not forget that or lose sight of that.
Ninth — think positively. Even though in your 20s you have quite the sarcastic and cynical mind (still do even now) — take that and use it for humor not negativity. The power of positive thinking, kindness, and karma goes along way. I’m pretty sure you will read this and go, “that’s a load of new age hooey — go F#$% yourself!”. Oh younger Emily — I know you so well.
And finally — life truly begins in your 30s. You will see. So much happens right after its quite amazing. So enjoy your 20s but don’t let them slip and ingest every daily moment as a building block of what will and eventually become. Have fun and never apologize for being who you are.