In the spirit of the month of gratitude and reflection, each of us decided to write a letter to our younger selves with all of the love and sentiment we've gathered in recent years, packed with the lessons we wish we knew at an earlier age and the items we hope our children one day read.
Dear Younger Emma,
You might think you've got it figured out but you really don't. You still don't, if I'm honest. You probably never will and that's okay. That's better than okay. You're going to learn to take every unexpected hiccup in your life and turn it into an adventure. You're going to go on a lot of those adventures and you're going to have a lot of hiccups on the way.
Stop overthinking things. You're being dumb. People actually like you, it's a crazy idea but they do. Also I wish I learned to love myself sooner, because once you do, it's freedom. Keep sticking to yourself and what you believe in. I'm really glad you did. You kept me from doing a lot of things that I would regret. At the time, you might have felt boring or left out, but you stood your ground on certain things and made yourself stronger.
Lean on your friends and let them do the same. Hold on to them tightly. Someone extremely close to you is going to pass away, you'll feel like the world is ending and It kind of is. I am still grieving every single day. Seriously, go call your mom. Then call your dad. Tell them you love them. You're lucky to have parents that love you unconditionally.
If he broke your heart, said something shady, or just isn't that "into you," CUT HIM OFF!!! He's not worth it if he's not 100% committed. Lastly, I wouldn't change a thing. This last year has been the toughest and simultaneously most rewarding year of my life. I've lost a lot of people close to me, I lost a dear pet and I've gone through a lot of life changes. It's forced me to live and think in brand new ways. Keep changing and keep adventuring.
Dear Younger Kathryn,
Or "Katie", as you go by in current time. Things may seem difficult now, but don't worry: no matter what you go through in life, you'll make it out on the other side. After the bullying subsides and the anxiety is calmed, you're going to go on to do great things. You're going to own your own business, start an empowerment group for fellow female biz owners and find the partner of your dreams who treats you well, supports your every endeavor and rides the waves out with you.
Later in life, you will find your biological family and you won't be as close to your adoptive family as you once were. These drifted family bonds will greatly impact your soul and declare just how much family means to you. The relationships you will form with your friends (although it may not feel like you have many right now), fellow girlbosses and LGBTQ community will redefine a new meaning of family for you and is the way it always should be. Family is not blood, it is the relationships found.
Your heart will be broken more than once or twice and the lovers who came before aren't worth your heartache. They weren't meant to be yours and won't be yours later down the road - it is okay to say goodbye and let go of people and things who don't serve you well. Trust me when I say you don't need to associate with "lowlifes" and individuals who do you no good - you are only putting yourself in more trouble. You don't need to do drugs if you don't want to, you will experiment on your own time when the time is right. You don't need to party, and you in fact won't ever, if you stay on this path of clear thinking and self-motivation. You don't need religion, only God.
It's unlikely that you're going to meet individuals with such a strong emphasis on sentimentality and expression like you - this will be a consistent roadblock throughout your years and it's nothing to give up, this is what makes you YOU. The little meanings behind things and the "common sense" standards of how to treat people aren't all that common sense to everyone. Ethics and morals will play a huge part in your life and it's your job to live and lead by example as someone that values diversity, compassion and overall kindness. #CommunityOverCompetition is your life's purpose.
Never compromise yourself for anything. Never settle for less than you're worth. Not every client is going to work out, not every friend is going to be your best friend and not every life lesson is going to make sense until much later. This is the beauty of life. The unexpected, the twists and turns, the rollercoaster ride along the way. And as your favorite song says: "I've looked at life from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow... it's life's illusions that I recall. Something's lost, and something's gained, from living every day." Joni Mitchell knows what she's talkin' about!
What would you include in a letter to your younger self?
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THE BLOGGERS: KATHRYN COFFMAN
& EMMA CRANE
Kathryn and Emma are the bloggers behind FashionablyFrank.com. Kathryn is the founder and lead blogger, while Emma is a part-time contributor. Emma is the travel, beauty, crafts and DIY guru, while Kathryn is the mastermind behind marketing and social media, business and general life hacks.