Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give yourself for the year ahead? – Jenny Blake
Dear 28-year-old Stephany,
When I think of myself now, five years older than I am while writing this letter, I can’t help but think of how different my life will be. I’ll be on the cusp of turning 30, which feels just plain weird. I still feel perpetually fifteen.
I hope you are happy. I hope you have a job you love and have built a life that fulfills you. You began your 23rd year with very few friends, an unhealthy obsession with food, and low self-esteem. There is a lot I need to learn and a lot I hope to have experienced by the time I turn 28.
What do I want from you? So much. I want you to be healthy, eating food that feels good for your body. I want you to be fit and have found a passionate love for running or any other type of exercise. I want you to be successful, whether it be as a published author or working at a job you love. I want you to be married because frankly, you think about your future husband so much now that still being single five years from now feels defeatist. If you’re not married, I want you to be happy in your singlehood. I want you to not be afraid of starting relationships, be them friendships or romantic relationships. I want your life to be filled with friends and social events. At 23, you’re too filled with fear to do anything about cultivating friendships or being social.
And I want you to remember how you felt as you began Year 2011, at 23. At this time, you were happy, but then again, not-so-happy. You had just began to explore all these feelings that bombard your mind and body multiple times a day and have hesitantly put a label of “anxiety” on what causes them. You will be seeking therapy in the new year and as much as you want to accept that, it feels a little bit like failure. It feels like you aren’t enough to take care of yourself. You are unhealthy and overweight with an obsession with food that is scary. You badly want to find a love for running and healthy eating so let’s hope 2011 is the year that happens. You don’t have very many friends (but I would venture to say that your amazing blog friends more than makes up for that!) and it feels like your family is falling apart, with your 15-year-old twin cousins getting involved in some pretty bad stuff and nobody talking about what’s really going on.
I hope things begin to turn around soon for you. I hope you begin to open up your heart to new relationships, discover what you’re passionate about, and stop hiding from the world. Together, we can do this. We can be happy. We can be healthy. And we can begin to live in freedom.
Your former 23-year-old self
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