On Monday, I took a look back at a letter I wrote to myself five years ago, as I tried to visualize what I wanted my life to look like at 28. I loved looking back at that letter, and I thought there was nothing better I could do but to write another letter to myself – this time as a 28-year-old writing a letter to her 33-year-old self.
Here we go!
Dear 33-year-old Stephany,
You are 33! Somehow, being 33 doesn’t feel as unrealistic as being 28 did when you wrote your previous letter at age 23. In fact, it feels really good. I have a feeling your 30s are going to be grand.
Before I talk about what I am hoping for you, I want to give you a little knowledge into who I am right now. I turned 28 a few weeks ago, and I didn’t celebrate with any parties or big to-do’s. In fact, I spent the majority of my birthday alone before meeting my brother, nephew, and mom for dinner.
At 28, you work at a job you love. You write SEO website content for a living, which may not sound exciting to other people, but you love it. You also love the people you work with, and that makes your job even better.
At 28, you’re single and you don’t date a lot. And you’re okay with that because you don’t feel this pressing need to be in a serious relationship or even married. In fact, you enjoy your independence so much that being in a serious relationship is a little terrifying. But you also know those fears will dissipate once you meet the right person.
At 28, you just moved out on your own for the first time. You live in Tampa, which still doesn’t feel like home, but it’s getting there. You have a wonderful roommate who makes all those fears about living with another person (based on what it was like your freshman year of college) go away. She’s one of your best friends, and I hope she remains that for you.
At 28, you’re writing a novel and I hope it’s a novel you have published, five years from now. Being a published novelist is your biggest dream and you’re putting in the work to make it happen.
Not everything is wonderful, though. You’re overweight and don’t like looking at yourself in the mirror. Living a healthy lifestyle has been harder than you ever expected. You need to work on your money management skills (especially as you just had to have your mom help you pay for new tires for your car, sigh). You still struggle with anxiety and haven’t found a therapist you click with. But I guess the biggest low point of your life right now is that you lost your grandma two months ago. It’s been hard to accept her loss, and there’s such an emptiness to the world without her. It’s hard to believe that when you read this letter in December of 2020, she’ll have been gone for five years.
So, what does 28-year-old me wish for the woman reading this letter now? So much, dear one. There is so much I hope and wish for you.
I hope you are living out your dream of being a published novelist. I hope I have used the past five years to buckle down, get my novel written and edited and sent out to agents. I hope you have many novels published with your name on the spine.
I hope you have been lucky in love because the past 28 years have not been so kind to you in that arena. I hope you have found someone you willingly gave up your solo adventures to be with. To me, this means you’ve found a way to let down your walls, let go of your fears, and be fully open to romance and love and passion.
I hope you have maintained your friendships and have cultivated new ones. I hope you still attend book club and have found a community through your church and have deep, fun relationships with women who care about you. There’s nothing more precious than girlfriends. I hope you still understand that.
I hope you live somewhere you love. Maybe that’s a house you own or an apartment you call your own. At 28, home ownership isn’t even on your radar because it feels like too much work. But plans change, right? I don’t know if you still live in Tampa, but I’d venture to say no. I wonder if you’ve moved back to St. Pete after a year or two in Tampa or maybe you’ve taken the plunge and moved somewhere entirely different (living in Savannah has always been a dream).
I hope you’ve taken control of your anxiety and found a therapist you connect with. I hope you’ve gotten a handle on your health, have lost the weight, and feel good about your appearance. I hope you’ve traveled, seen the U.S. cities you’ve wanted to see, and took that trip to Italy that you wanted to take. I hope you’ve been smart with your money, are completely out of debt, and have a healthy savings account that makes you feel secure should an emergency arise.
Above all, dear self, I hope you are abundantly happy with your life. More than achieving goals, more than being who I think you should be, happiness is my ultimate wish for you. I want you to love your life and the people in it. I want you to wake up enthused to start your days and know how very lucky you are to live the life you do.
Your former 28-year-old self
What do you hope for your life in 5 years?