What I Would Tell My Younger Self
Let's start with this Then & Now photo...
On the left is a photo of me taken at my high school graduation in 1995. I was just a few days shy of turning 18. And, yes, we did have COLOR back then but this picture is from the black and white newspaper. On the right, me, age 43 in a giant sunhat. Because I love the sun AND want to protect my skin, but I digress.
When I first put this together it was just to see how much I've changed, but then I started really thinking about these two women, these two parts of me. So, if I could, here's what I would tell that girl on the left, the girl about to start her journey into adulthood.
Your chipmunk cheeks will go away.
You will lose your virginity and it will be nice, safe and you won't go to hell.
You and your BFF won't even live in the same state, but you will remain close. Your adult tribe becomes like family.
You will not marry your current boyfriend, but he will introduce you to your husband when he joins the Navy. You'll have a special place in your heart for this gift.
You will miss some opportunities to travel that you'll later regret. Eventually, you'll get to Paris, it becomes one of your happy places and you even have a special hashtag #parasinparis. (I won't tell you that last part, 90s you won't understand.)
You do not become an international journalist, instead you teach world history. You will be happy in your profession. And you're good at it.
CMU was a great choice for you. This is where you started to break out of your small town mentality and become a little more wild than you predicted.
Get rid of your Barbie collection. You will become the mommy of boys and it will be glorious! (And they will be worth less than you can imagine.)
You never have an affair with Tom Cruise. 43 year old you isn't sure if she's glad or sad about this fact. There was this whole couch jumping incident...
Baby oil instead of sunscreen is a terrible idea. Sunscreen is your skin's BFF.
Your first home as a married couple is in New York. You feel like this is where you figure out who you really are.
You will discover how liberating it is to CHOOSE where to put your time and energy, but not for a couple more decades.
You will wrestle with an eating disorder in your late teens and early 20s. You will come out of it, but it still wiggles around in the back of your head during high stress times. It's also a big secret that you don't share with many people for over a decade.
You'll FINALLY realize you're not fat when you're in your 30s. You're curvy. This will change your life and push you to start the Lotus Project.
You will realize "should" is a shaming word for you and you will start to curate the life you WANT, not the one other people think you SHOULD be living.
You will learn to take care of your skin... after cystic acne, and fighting adult acne and wrinkles simultaneously. (Hints: decrease sugar, eat more unprocessed food, get a good cleanser and moisturizer, visit your esthetician, use clean products with less artificial ingredients.)
Sorry, your hyperhydrosis will get worse after baby #2. BUT, due to fine German engineering and your dermatologist, you will start treatments with an iontophoresis machine and get it under control.
Don't rely on other people to make you happy. And vice versa.
You'll learn the practice of loving yourself, but it's a lifelong journey that you will always have to work toward, and that is okay.
You'll get braver and wiser as you get older.
You will need help getting out of your own head sometimes. Therapy will be the best gift you give yourself.
Most of the time you will be content. And when you're not, you have a toolbox full of things to help you.
You are loving and you are loved.
You are enough. Always.
At the Lotus Project, we often look to the future and look at where we want to go. Sometimes, it's good to look back and tell the little human that lives inside of you that it all turns out okay. That she's okay. What would you tell your younger self right now?
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