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A Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Alison,

You’re just getting your feet under you; and you have lots of ideas. Don’t let other peoples ideas become more important than your own. Listen to mentors, but don’t fear them. Look up to mentors, but don’t idolize them. In practical terms, don’t become a fangirl.

Only fangirl Leonardo DiCaprio.

That’s it.

Everyone is human. And they will inevitably let you down in some way because that’s part of the lesson you need to learn about other people. They’re not here to be your guidepost. You’re here to learn and grow and nurture your own ideas.

You will also figure out that helping others is really important. And you will dive into this will much of your being. It will be one on one. With people who need help. Don’t invest your entire being into them, in the same way you can’t idolize mentors.

You can share the what you have learned with them. But they might not want to do what is necessary. That’s not your problem. And it’s also not a judgment on them. Stop placing so much emphasis on others. Stop it.

Pray every single day. And meditate, too. Imagine that your life has a purpose and that God is guiding you. Because it’s true, if only you could see that.

Write way more than you will. Spend inordinate amounts of time honing your craft. You will think you’re too busy; but you’re free as a bird. You will ll eventually have to support a small life. And that’s when time will feel like it’s getting away from you.

Follow the whispers in your heart, not the fears in your head.

Allow others to be your friend and allow yourself to be a friend.

Be quiet when you want to be loud.

Know that every decision you make has a lasting impact on your future, but you can always choose a new path. Just because you wandered down that one path, you can always go off the path or even turn around and go back to a point and choose another path.

You will feel like you’re doing the opposite of progressing at those moments when you choose a different path, but that’s a lie to get you back onto the path you’ve been on.

It’s fear. It’s hungry for attention. Don’t take the bait.

Eat yummy food. Make yummy food.

Buy things when you can afford them. Give money away.

Try new things. This one seems so obvious and I almost don’t want to add it on here, but I feel it’s important. Your life will be as rich as you choose it to be. This means you will need to incorporate things that you presently know nothing about into your life.

Just do it. With conviction.

Know that you will feel awkward and weird when trying new things. But don’t let those weird feelings stop you from continuing to make a practice out of trying new things. That would be fear again. It’s like a little gremlin.

Quit your job that you don’t love and follow your passion. Whatever that is. Do this when you’re young because when you’re older you will have responsibilities and responsibilities is really code for bills and mouths to feed and that makes following a passion feel reckless and selfish and careless. And because you’re a good person you won’t be able to do it later on.

So do it now because you’re smart enough and you have enough grit to make it work. And even if it fails you’ve lived.

Go outside more often than you think is reasonable. Ride your bike when you feel like driving.

Don’t worry so much. But the only way you can do that is if you start listening to that small voice in your heart and not that big voice in your head. When you make decisions based on fear, worry just comes with the territory. You’ll worry about loved ones, their health, your health, if you’re doing it right, if you’re a bad person and a million other things.

But you won’t stop worrying until you sit down and really do the one thing that scares you the most.

I don’t have a time machine but I can tell you that you will make it. And it will be far better than you thought it could be, but not until you stop listening to fear and choose your heart instead.

Sincerely,

Me

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