5 Lessons Before 25: A Letter to Myself

HAPPY THANKSGIVING BRIDES & GROOMS!

Anyone else have the equivalent of a 6th month pregnant stomach (filled with pumpkin pie & sweet potato leftovers) popping out of their grease stained pajama pants? Me either. I love Thanksgiving! Growing up, my family all gathered at our Aunt Cindy’s for a relaxing dinner, catching up and of course – football. Over the years all the cousins have grown and moved across the country, so spending all those holidays together are one of my fondest memories. Another tradition we used to do (after cracking the wishbone that I always called dibs on months in advance) was opening presents. Not for Thanksgiving – YA GIRL’S BIRTHDAY IS NEXT WEEKEND AYEEE.

*clinks wine glasses with you*

I’m going to turn the big 2-5! That blows my mind – in a good way. I swear I just turned 20 yesterday (in a shoddy college house on Manville Avenue in Bowling Green, Ohio, filled with friends, blaring music, dim lighting, grimacing as I sipped a shot of $5 gas station vodka – ah, college.) I remember that night – I stepped outside with a good friend who also just turned 20 and we looked at the stars and squealed “Wow in just 5 years we’ll be 25! REAL ADULTS! Ew! We’re gonna have to, like, pay our own health insurance and work real jobs!” and then we rolled our eyes, contemplating how lame life would be after college, the best years of our life.

IF I ONLY KNEW.

The next year, I’d be celebrating my birthday in a much more mature way, at a ~fancy~ restaurant with my new boyfriend of 3 months (Mr. Gehrig Dieter) But at 20, just hours after dropping the “teen” from my age, I had no idea what my life would entail. I think I’ve learned some valuable lessons that maybe others can learn from or laugh at – so this is a letter to 19-year-old me:


Dear Young Meg,

Hey! It’s Me, Meg. I’m almost 25 now – good news: no gray hairs yet. You’re just a naive, college sophomore without a care in the world. The dilemmas you think you’re about to face are so beyond trivial, but they laid the foundation for the course of your life and while I wouldn’t change a single thing, I think you could use these 5 reminders.

HE IS NOT THE ONE.

The person you’re with, the one you’ve been with since high school, is not the one. You know it, too. In the pit of your stomach, the romantic high that can only come from your first love has been over for a long time and only comfort is keeping you around. You’re not one of those girls who hooks up, so don’t feel like you have to ditch this dude and act single. The funny thing is – when you finally come to terms with the fact that this relationship is over, you’re going to swear to all of your friends and yourself that “after being with someone for 5 years, I’m going to be single for 5 years. Seriously!” Well, jokes on you – you’ll meet your soulmate two months later. Don’t let a self-inflicted “timeline” deter you from happiness. Always trust your intuition. Take time to process breakups, but don’t let the stigma of “rebounds” trick you into thinking that someone you have an incredible connection with is just that. Also – the dude is a smoking hot football player (you’re welcome) and yeah, at first he’s gonna have an awful profile picture but just trust me, okay? He’s going to give you the world.

YOU GET WHAT YOU WORK FOR.

Currently, your main concerns are what you’re wearing to the hockey house party on Saturday and what the dining hall is serving for lunch. That stats mid-term? Booooring – I know. But TAKE SCHOOL SERIOUSLY, DAMNIT. Slacking off doesn’t get you out of work, it just disrupts your path to success by giving you more work to do later. At some point, you’re going to have to work your ass off day in and day out while juggling a part time job, an internship and 18 credit hours – all because you thought you could chill in the early years. You’re someone with big career aspirations – act like it, fam! Your professors see potential in you and push you because of it. That professor you despise right now? She ends up being your favorite. She’ll critique you harder than everyone else the next two years (you’ll call your mom crying with frustration) and then she’ll give you a recommendation letter that will make you so proud it makes your heart heavy (then you’ll call your mom crying with gratitude.) Meet procrastination with determination and keep going. It pays off, I promise.

EVERYONE STARTS SOMEWHERE. EVERYONE.

Speaking of those career aspirations – you’re currently invested in fashion journalism and you’ve interned for multiple designers in the most cut-throat industry ever (…or so you think. Giiirl, wait till the NFL comes along.) You’re still at the bitch work stage. You’re still the first to get in, the last to leave and the one who has to grab 16 different Starbucks drinks. You’ve sweat (prepping for and cleaning up after dozens of fashion shows) you’ve cried (through trade shows as your boss screams “you can’t do anything right!”) you’ve bled (as you walked the Las Vegas strip in 6″ heels after 14 exhausting days of fashion week) and it still feels like it’s all for nothing. You picked an odd career path, that’s for sure. In journalism, you’re not guaranteed a job whatsoever. But because of your work ethic and the deep rooted passion to write for a magazine, you will find a way. Keep working hard because the very people who belittle you/take advantage of you now will be the ones who help you up the ladder of success later. Influential people weed out the weak and then work with the strong. By the way, keep an open mind to upcoming opportunities (& may I suggest picking up a bridal magazine?)

BE THE FRIEND YOU WANT TO HAVE.

You will go through a LOT of friends, dude. They will come and go; there will be falling outs and misinterpreted arguments, you’ll lose touch with every person you’re currently hanging out with. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. In time, you’ll realize the party scene is not your thing and the people you’re surrounded with aren’t your kind of friends. Don’t feel regretful; you’ll make incredible memories with this group that you’ll never tell your children. But as time passes and you truly find out who you are, the ones with less-than-good intentions will bail. For a while, you’ll wonder why you can’t keep friends – what is it about you that people lose interest in? Then, in a year or so, meet the greatest group of girls you’ve ever met. Friendship will come easy since they want the same things out of life as you. Your best friends will be there for years to come, but please put the effort in to keep in contact with them. When college ends (and you’re not a quick 5 minutes away from all your friends at all times) it’s incredibly difficult to stay connected. You can go weeks without speaking to someone who you consider your best friend due to work or just life in general. It’s normal – but everyone needs a friend to reach out to them once in awhile. Be there when they need you.

FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD.

19-year-old Meg – no offense, but you don’t know anything yet. You’re insanely stubborn (we’re still working on that) self-centered (we’ll stop this by age 23) and tend to derail if things don’t go according to plan. To avoid things not going to plan, you resort to comfort in daily routines and limit yourself. Be open and be faithful in the plan that God has set for you – it’s bigger than you ever could’ve imagined. You’re going to graduate and travel, you’re going to live in Alabama and Florida and Kansas in the course of one year. You’re going to meet people in these places that impact your life forever. You’re going to continue to learn and realize the only things that actually matter in life aren’t things at all but the people you mention in your prayers before bed every night. Take chances. Go after everything you want – because you always get something in return. The whole “speak it into existence” thing? It works! You’ve never pursued a goal without achieving it. I’m not sure it will always work out like that, but our record so far is like, really good. A couple of other things – stop using tanning beds, don’t drink whiskey, don’t overdraw your bank account on shoes, don’t be mean to your parents, don’t skip class just cause it’s cold outside. Cherish every ounce of time you spend with your loved ones and repay the universe for blessing you with such an incredible life by helping those in need. By the way, 20-24 is just the beginning

You ain’t seen nothing yet.

XO Old Meg

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