I’m coming to you live from 20 years into the future! Yes, this is a letter from 33 year old you. Yes, you read that right. Don't look so surprised! I know when you were a kid - a younger kid - if you had one wish, it would be to time travel. You’ve always been fascinated with history, and would love to go back in the past or fast forward to the future. Listen, appreciate this moment right now. That’s all that matters. Always live in the present. Trust me – um, you – on it!
Now, if I had to give you some advice, I probably wouldn’t tell you anything besides "keep going, you're good" because at age 33 your life is great! Sure, you’ve been through some things, but everything that you’ve experienced has made you the woman you are today. I wouldn’t want to alter that in any way. Ok, ok, ok… I’ll let you in on a few clues about 33 year old you.
No, you’re not married yet nor do you have dependents, but you, at 33, are hopeful you will in due time. You’ve also had some really fun and exciting jobs, and you’ve traveled internationally. And yes, you are living in Brooklyn in the heart of Bed-Stuy!!! Your prayers are answered!
On to some cautionary advice… starting in 2003 you’re going to wear Marley braids a lot in college (yes, you will attend college, and no, I won’t tell you what school or major you choose) because you want to go natural, but you keep getting perms – mainly to please others who say your hairstyle isn’t suitable to obtain a job. You shouldn’t do that and you shouldn’t listen to them, but you will. You’ll finally realize in 2010 that your natural hair is beautiful, and you’ll decide never again to conform to other people’s standards of beauty. Deep conditioner and a wide tooth comb will become your hair's best friends, and you will perfect the twist out technique.
After you graduate from graduate school (yes, you’ll get a Master’s degree, and no, I still won’t tell you what school or major you choose), your life will completely change in a very dramatic way. You will become homeless three times. Like homeless, homeless. Yes, you will. Don’t look like that. Don't cry. Fix your face. I know that sounds hella scary, but God will get you through it, and you will come out on top. Everything you will dream about will become a reality. Just trust Him.
You’re going to meet a guy named “G” in 2010 after experiencing one of the lowest points in your life. He seems great at first, but then he begins to control and judge you by the chapter he walked in on. You will break up then get back together on your 30th birthday in 2014. He will exploit your temporary brokenness after you leave your dream job, and attempt to manipulate you. You'll soon realize you should’ve kept him in 2012 where you left him. I would say avoid his ass like the plague, but the second breakup will be the catalyst for your journey of healing and self-discovery. Everything happens for a reason; just don't feed into his bullshit and games.
J, you’re already a curious, intelligent, beautiful, and thoughtful young lady. When you start to question the meaning of life and your place in the world, and you will, here are 13 gems to always remember:
1. Be true to yourself.
Do you! Be yourself. Love yourself. Embrace your uniqueness. The best person you can be in the world is yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
2. Invest in yourself.
Study a topic that interests you. Learn a new language. Go to a seminar. Read the autobiographies of the people you admire. Engaging in these activities will give you more inspiration to go after your own dreams.
3. Dream big and take risks!
Relentlessly pursue your dreams because without risk there is no reward. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Once you achieve your goals, you’ll be even more proud of yourself because you overcame the forces that tried to block you.
4. Let go of toxic relationships.
If people in your circle – be it family or friends – drain you, hurt you, thrive on unnecessary drama, and make you question the value of the relationship, feel free to cut them out of your life. You can forgive a person, but don’t feel the need to rebuild a relationship with them. For your sanity’s sake, it’s perfectly fine to love them from a distance.
5. Treat your body as a temple.
Exercise daily, eat healthy, meditate, pray, and practice self-care. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you. Now look, you will smoke weed and drink alcohol, but don't smoke so many Black & Mild's! You know what, just quit them altogether. Just stop. You should have never started. I mean you haven't started yet, but you will. You know what, it is what it is...
6. Go with the flow.
Trust God’s plan and don’t worry about things beyond your control. If you’re going to worry, then don’t pray. If you pray, then don’t worry.
7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
You’re human! You’ll learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Just try not to make the same mistake twice.
8. Have fun!
You are responsible for your own happiness. Don't let anyone steal your joy. Enjoy life, even when it’s throwing you curve balls.
9. Dance like no one is watching!
Live your life as you see fit, and don’t apologize for not fitting into societal norms. Don’t be concerned about the opinions of others, and never allow yourself to be defined by what others think of you.
10. Learn to say no.
It’s admirable to be generous, but don’t be generous to a fault. People will see your kindheartedness as a weakness, and will try to take advantage of you. You should be your first priority.
11. Save money.
Always pay yourself first. Set up a savings account and a 401(k). It’s important to have a nest egg for emergencies, travel, and retirement.
12. Don’t give up on love.
Don’t allow a bad breakup to harden your heart. That person was a lesson, not a soulmate. Your true love is out there, and you’ll find each other when you’re supposed to.
13. Know your worth.
Then increase the sticker price by 20%, add local, state and federal taxes, shipping and handling, parts and labor fee, processing fee, administrative fee, and a cancellation policy and repackaging fee. You’re valuable, and you’re rare. Never settle for less and demand more than you deserve.
You're a teenager now. Your body will change, so will your friends, and your perspective about the world. Continue to grow and never stop challenging yourself. You're much stronger than you realize. One more thing, that small knot on the left side of your forehead that sporadically gives you migraines and you constantly obsess about never goes away. It's an osteoma, and you'll find out right before you turn 33 that you can get it removed, but you'll elect not to. You've already become accustomed to being a unicorn.
Now, go back to zoning out to Jay-Z's album, “In My Lifetime, Vol. 1" playing in your portable Sony Walkman, and writing in your diary. You know, you're going to see him in concert a few times when you get older. He's going to marry THE biggest artist in the world (trust me – um, you), and the group she's in hasn't even released their first album yet. You'll see her in concert a few times, too. You will also see her little sister perform at Radio City Music Hall for your 33rd birthday. Yeah kid, just keep going. You're good.
And oh, yeah… Never Stop Writing!