I have spent so much time waiting. While I know I’m only 24, and I have years ahead of me to make a change, if I could go back in time and tell my younger self one thing, it would be to stop waiting for people, for places, and for things. Stop waiting to make the moves you want to make, because you are afraid it won’t work out, or you are afraid you will fail, or you are afraid they won’t reciprocate. So many times I have watched opportunity pass me by because I have been too scared to be honest about how I really feel, and about where my passion lies. And while I know passion cannot drive everything, and often times my instincts will kick in, and I know when to trust my head over my heart.
If I could tell my younger self one thing. It would be to take the offer from the school further away. To study what she wanted to study all along, instead of what was closest to him. To never, ever sacrifice her self respect for his needs. To never pass up an opportunity to see the ones she loved the most, because you never know when they will be gone. To always let people in, because she had a bad habit of closing herself off, and she shut so many good people out for fear of being let down or let go.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to write. To always write. To write on napkins, and receipts. In the pages of journals, and notebooks, and the scrap piece of paper on the subway car. That no matter how much she wanted to impress him with her intellectual prowess, words are where her heart will always lay. That she will never love him as much as she will love words, and that she is only with him for a good story, and not because she truly cares. That good stories are wonderful on paper, but they have broken down her soul. That the situations she puts herself into in the name of a good story will wear down her sense of being. That she will lose herself in all the men she’s ever known, but that soon she will know better.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it’s would be to always go. Take the trains, the planes, the long car rides. Take the journeys across the city, across the country, and across the world. These trips you take, or failed to take, will forever change you; even in the smallest of ways. That the people she has met along the way, they will get into every fibre of her being, and the things they teach her will stay with her for life. Every moment spent soaking up the scenery instead of looking through a lens will change the way she see’s herself, and see’s the world. These are lessons she will not get from a textbook, or from her parents, these are lessons she will learn on her own. That she must learn on her own.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to stop. To stop thinking that an eating disorder is the answer to all her problems. That the path that she is taking will forever alter her body, and her mind, and that she will have to live with the consequences of these actions, however heartbreaking. That there is nothing she will find with her fingers down her throat, that she wouldn’t find with her pen to a page, or with her nose in a book. That altering herself physically will not alter the way she truly sees herself, and that this is something she will never grow out of. This is something that will linger for a lifetime.
If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to leave him when she knows it’s not right. That staying with someone because you love them, or because they love you, is not the answer. Loving someone is not the answer, that loving herself is. I would tell her not to let him convince her to take her dreams and squander them, because they are too big, and she is not ready. That she should focus on something more attainable, more concrete. That happiness, not salary, is the answer.
Or maybe, I would never tell her anything at all, because these are lessons which she needed to learn. No matter how relentlessly we try to fight the ebb and flow of the people, places, and things in our lives, these lessons are necessary evils, and the irreparable damages caused have lead me to conquer so much more than I thought I ever could. So instead I will sit quiet, and write letters to myself, and pray that I will never, ever read them.