Dear 20 year old Sam,
First, let me tell you that you my dear are Pure Fucking Magic!
You will forget this at times but it’s okay because it will lead you back home.
There are about one thousand things I could write here already, but I’m going to try to stick with what I feel is most important (and I don’t want to spoil all that is to come your way).
Get comfortable. You’ll need it, because this might get uncomfortable…. You should know that life won’t turn out exactly like you thought it would. You are going to have a whirlwind of a decade!
Right at this moment, however, you’re not too peachy. You’re full of cynicism and your heart is closed. You feel like there is nothing interesting in the world and you’re bored. All the time. Get your head out of your ass and look up the night sky. Let it knock your socks off.
You look like someone who’s got a raging silent storm beneath a stoic facade; like someone who doesn’t belong anywhere, the odd one out. You’ve felt like this all your life, empty and overwhelmed at the same time. You decided that maybe you were just born this way, or born in the wrong year, or born on the wrong planet. You feel like your life is an anomaly, so you spend endless hours distracting yourself from living. You will wonder why you weren’t destined for the good life; the one that you see in movies, read in books, and experience through other people’s eyes.
You’ve learned a lot already. You will soon find though you really don’t know shit. Your early twenties are going to be a time of growth, mistakes, and reflection. There are some things, however, I want you to share now that I am the other side.
You have a big heart and put your all into things you’re involved in. This can be a good and a bad thing. It’s good because you work hard and you tend to not take no for an answer whether that be with school, internships, relationships, and the like. It can be bad because you don’t really know when to let go of things. You need to learn when someone or something is just not working out and you need to learn when to walk away. Letting go doesn’t mean you gave up; it just means you can recognize it’s no longer serving you.
Also, you think too much. You have a habit of thinking obsessively about everything. Your thought process tends to go in circles and you don’t know how or when to distract yourself. In time, you will learn new tools that will help you through this. Although, graduate school will first increase your ability to analyze. Do it anyway because you are going to learn so much about what does not work when it comes to evoking lasting change.
Don’t let anyone tell you how you’re supposed to feel. “Life is a therapeutic irritation”, in the words of Amrit Desai (he is the mentor/ guide you will be seeking. Rest assure you will obtain the guidance you seek). In your twenties, you’re going to deal with your fair share of emotionally trying situations. There’s going to be people telling you that you shouldn’t be upset about things and that certain things shouldn’t matter so much to you. They’re wrong. Do not listen to them. Emotions serve a cognitive purpose and you need to feel them completely. You must first feel it, to heal it (when you take out the trash, it’s gonna stink). You will have your fair share of health challenges too. Know you will be okay and come out of it all stronger. You just have a lot of shit to process and let go. Life is going to crumble, shatter, implode in a cluster fuck of pain and sadness and grief and you’ll be forced to do the work on yourself . Though your next few years are going to be difficult, they’re teaching you what you need to know to discover your true work and true self.
Nothing is wasted.
Even though things will be hard, what you’re about to learn will shape the rest of your life. You will have moments when you feel as if despair and sorrow are your only companions, but the pain of life will compel you to explore new spiritual philosophies. Learn to embrace it all.
You will get back up. Your heart will mend. And one day in the future, it will all come together and make sense. Own everything that happens to you. What you’re going through will be part of your life story and will one day help others.
You don’t need to have your life figured out after college. Or grad school. Or ever, really. Being open to new possibilities will make your life and career more interesting than you ever could’ve planned for yourself.
Dear sweet,younger self, I can not lie to you, it will be very dark for a while. There will be one thing that saves you – You will become a mother.
Your girls will teach you how to live again and bring in a new chapter of growth. Oh, they will challenge you and you will worry, but you will grow as a person in this new adventure of motherhood. What you can’t do yet for yourself you will do for them. Love.
As you grow through motherhood you will find stumble upon a new found compassion for your parents. Remember that your parents tried the best they knew how. Forgive them.
Forgive yourself, forgive yourself, forgive yourself. Keep doing that.
You will have the urge to show your two daughters the world and all of the things that you shut yourself out from. You will find your voice and become a voice for others. You will finally follow that knowing to your true calling of helping and healing others. Starting at home.
You will be okay. One day you will learn to love yourself and stop apologizing for the things that make you who you are.
When it comes to money, you will face difficult and humbling moments when all you can afford is Ramen to get you through a week of dinners (you will learn in time you should have just bought fruits and veggies instead of that shit, but that’s another subject…). Even though you will spend many moments accompanied by fear, you will find that the universe tends to provide for and guide you even in the most hopeless of circumstances.
You’ll grow to understand that life cannot and will not be controlled. All you can control is your attitude and perspective. You will lose bits of yourself but find them in the compassion, kindness and patience. You’ll learn that you don’t know everything and eventually become at peace with this. You are a life learner, that process does not ever stop for you. You’ll learn how to be comfortable with your own vulnerability. You’ll learn that God really is within you. You’ll become thankful for the simple things like waking up each morning and being able to put your feet on the ground. You’ll learn that your past mistakes do not define you, nor do your fears control you. You’ll appreciate that we all have battle scars and learn to find the beauty in them. And the earth will rotate, the sun will rise and set…
Younger me, you will discover that life is fleeting and it was meant to be a fun adventure. You should take risks, you should push out of your comfort zone, you should know what failure and pain feels like so you can appreciate the pride, healing and joy that you will work so hard for.
If I could wrap all of this up in one neat little bow it might sound like this: give less fucks about what other people think and continue to pursue the things that you love and bring you to life. Take note of what those things are and follow them with a vengeance because my darling, another thing we’re slowly realizing is that our time is indeed finite. We do get older and people die. Shit happens. Above all else be kind. Kindness towards yourself and those around you. Find comfort in knowing that your true Self is infinite and timeless.
Enjoy it ALL! The light, the dark, the confusion and the clarity and the joy and frustration because it means YOU’RE STILL HERE. You have so much to be grateful for and look forward to.
And I love you. You’re awesome! Do you know that?
It took me a while to realize it cause I thought you were odd, broken, and unlovable. I was wrong. All that has made me love you more. It wasn’t on your own merit that I love you. I love you because I choose you. We are all made of love and light, but we try to protect it from the outside world and build walls around ourselves when in reality there is nothing to protect. Love is more powerful than anything else in the world, so there is nothing to fear. Don’t be afraid to love. Love with all your heart. All. Your. Goddamn. Heart. That’s how we roll.
Your Turn: If you were to have a chat your 20-year-old self, what message would you have?