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Friday, December 16, 2011

Letter to my younger self

Approaching 30 makes me extremely reflective. Who am I kidding? I am just a reflective person. I was recently reminded of a book I read where several influential women wrote a letter to their younger self. I was pondering what I would tell my young, fresh out of high school, bright-eyed self and here is what I came up with...

1. Say no to pump cheese.
You know that delicious gooey cheese that can only be found in a pump jar and is usually sold to us at the ballgame as nachos? Yes, that is the one and only pump cheese. I can thank it for most, if not all, of my cellulite. Stay away from it and all processed foods for that matter because there are plenty of yummy things out there that do not come in a container that has a longer shelf life than you do.

2. Girlfriends are one of greatest gifts you'll receive.
I would not know where to begin to describe this one. Your girls are part of your immediate family. You will be blessed to pick up a few in each phase of your life. These relationships will mean the world to you. They will keep you grounded and give you strength. They are your first loves.

3. Hey, It's Ok!
Life delivers stuff - sometimes it is so wonderful that you feel like you could soar above the clouds and other times, it brings you to your knees. The reality is that is it good to skin your knees every once in a while. Get a band-aid and pick yourself back up. 

4. Life is a verb.
Life does not always come knocking at your door asking you to play, so get out there and live the life you always imagined.

5. Give saving the world your best shot.
When I was a freshman in college, my roommates would tease me about my hectic schedule. They would say "where are you off to today, to save the world?" It became our joke but I still love it when they say it to me ten years later. You will not actually save the world but you can make a great impact on someones life.

6. Keep your packing boxes handy.
You never know where life will take you... Tampa, DC, Georgia, Arkansas, Back to Tampa. Life is an adventure, always do what comes next.

7. Your life will be more than you imagined, so relax.
When you turn 29, life will look far differently than you ever expected it to and it will be better than you ever imagined. Relax because you are going to do great things and be surrounded by phenomenal people every day.

8. The plan is not as important as the experience.
When you are younger the POA (plan of action) will seem important because it is how you keep your sanity. You'll always be this organized but you'll learn to let go of the plan. The best things in life come from the unexpected. 

9. Do that thing that terrifies you.
You are going to be scared, A LOT. Keep doing and being. Face those fears because great things lie on the other side. 

10. Be vulnerable.
You are a fragile, tough girl. You do not always have to have it together and you can totally have the breakdown(s) you deserve. You will cry more in graduate school than ever in your life, it's okay. Let people into your heart because it will fill you with more joy than you thought you could contain. 

11.  Fall in love.
This will always terrify you a bit but you will always believe in love. You are going to get your heart broken a couple of times but some day you will find that one you choose to fully commit to. Fall in love as many times as it takes to get it right.  

12. Dance it out in your living room.
Just own it! You need to dance it out especially during stressful times. This is therapy, do it, often.

13. Drink beer.
Who wants to drink out of some large container full of goodness knows what? Not you! Learn to drink beer so you don't have to be the girl at the party who needs a fruity drink. You'll thank me later.

14. Always find compassion for others.
Your heart is big, especially when it comes to others. Do not lose that because it makes you who you are. Keep believing in the goodness in others. 

15. Use all of your talents - use everything you got!
Live by this quote. "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'."

16. Your life will be anything but ordinary.
You are going to choose a path that does not make sense to a lot of people. You did not have the typical "normal" life growing up so it is kind of in your blood. Lots of people are cheering you on. Your not normal family will be the most important thing in your life.

17. Spend entire afternoons getting lost in books.

18. Hit the yoga mat.
You will find few places where you will "not think". Yoga is your space, your solace.

19. Save money.
Be prepared for the rainy day or next great adventure.

20. You'll always be a girl who grew up on a dirt road.
You'll have many adventures but in your heart you'll always be a girl who grew up on a dirt road. You will not always carry the same opinions or want to live that far from the grocery store but where you came from is just as important as who you are today. When you lose your way, go home to remind yourself what is really important in life.

What would you all tell your younger self?


Big Apple Angie said...

I love this! You should send to Mrs. Powers to share with her leadership class!

Rosa said...

This post makes me miss you so bad! This is classic Jessica! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say I'm amazed at what a wonderful role model you have become to younger women, but I saw something very special in you, when you were in college. Continue to show them, through your actions, what it is like to live your truth, learn, accept and celebrate who you are.