Last week Sarah Von Bargen released the Post-College Survival Kit & as part of the promotion she had a bunch of kick ass ladies write letters imparting wisdom to their 22-year old selves. I had trouble falling asleep on Saturday night and in a fit of exhaustion-fuelled inspiration, I wrote one too. This is it.
Dear 22-year old me,
I'm only four years wiser than you, but wow - what a lot you'll do in those next four years!
You'll graduate university and get your own apartment. It's in a basement and floods regularly, but it's all yours.
You'll be an editor-in-chief and this will teach you so much - including the importance of leaving a job when it threatens your integrity.
So you'll start your own magazine and travel across Europe.
You'll fall in and out of love, but you don't let it make you jaded (I'm really proud of you for that).
You'll have your first truly disastrous business relationship, but you'll live to tell the tale and it will only make you stronger.
You'll lose a very special friend who taught you the true meaning of living life to the fullest.
You'll take full responsibility for your own life and get really clear on what it is you want.
You'll start chasing your dreams in earnest and follow them across the Atlantic to live in London.
You'll learn a lot in this time and perhaps by sharing some of that with you, it will make these next four years a bit easier. Because they're going to be hard. Really hard. But hot damn are they going to be wonderful!
Here's what I know for sure:
You have to ask for what you want. You'll gain so much from this. You'll get clear on what it is you actually want and a lot of the time you'll get it, just because you bothered to ask. If you don't, you're no worse off than before.
You have the power to change your thoughts, and your life. In fact, by changing your thoughts, you change your life. So stop telling yourself that you can't have the life you want or that "that's just the way things are." Those are thoughts, not facts, and you always have the power to choose a different one.
Your passions are worth pursuing. All of the good things in your life will follow from chasing your passions, not from doing what you "should" do. Let go of the shoulds and step into your passions - that's where the magic is.
If it doesn't feel good, stop. If your boyfriend usually make you miserable, that's not going to change. If your job makes you sick with anxiety most days, it's time to find a different one. There are always going to be bad and difficult times to push through, but tip the scales in favour of feeling good. That should be your primary mode of being. When you feel good, you're in a better position to help other people feel good, and why wouldn't we all want to feel good?
The most important decision is to love yourself. Your whole life opens up when you make this decision. So make it now, and keep making it every damn day. It doesn't matter what nasty thing someone said to you or what limiting belief you swallowed before you knew better. All that matters is that you decide to love yourself.
And above all, know this: it's going to be great. Because you're great. So trust yourself and loosen up a little.