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Dear “Twenty Year Old” Rachel

dear twenty year old

Awwwww.

dear twenty year old

dear twenty year old

Dear “Twenty Year Old” Rachel,

Good morning, pretty lady!!

It’s me. Me ten years later. I know, the Ghost of Christmas Future, except your birthday is in May, not December.

Anyway, how are you? Let me guess. You’re probably hiding in your dorm room even though it’s a sunny May afternoon, one of those spectacular spring days with balmy breezes flowing through the campus.

What else, what else … You’re studying for a sociology final, or writing an analytical paper on John Milton’s Paradise Lost, and wondering if your horrible grades will ever crack a 3.0. You made so many mistakes your freshman year at Rutgers. I still don’t know how you managed to avoid dropping out. Maybe you have more spunk than I give you credit for.

Haha, you always hated that your birthday was in May, because you either had finals or essays looming on the horizon. Even if you were a lazy bum about school and bragged about your crappy work ethic, as if lackluster grades made you an “All American Rebel,” you still cared enough to try.

Believe or not, I’m back at college all these years later. Not as a student, though, but as a Real Adult with a Real Job. An adult who has the disposal cash to eat at downtown restaurants, to take the NYC train, to rent a luxury apartment, and to travel.

Yes, I said travel. Can you believe it? I know you’re miserable that you can’t study abroad, because you’re on academic probation, but it’s all gonna be okay, because you have amazing wanderlusty experiences coming your way soon.

But let’s talk about the bad news first.

dear twenty year old

dear twenty year old

Your twenties aren’t going to be easy, sorry.

Your heart will be broken.

And you’ll break others’ hearts, too.

And you’ll never say sorry.

You will compare yourself to others.

You will fall out of touch with dear friends.

And jealousy will be your new constant companion.

You will not get a job for many years.

You will not feel like a “true adult,” thanks to a tanked economy.

Your Masters thesis will be torn to shreds.

You will be taken advantage of.

Your brain will betray you with anxious thoughts that keep you a shadow of your former self.

dear twenty year old

dear twenty year old

But I promise for every moment you spend crying, wondering why you’re so deathly afraid before you’ve truly had a chance to live, ten more incredible memories will take its place.

Your twenties are going to be beautiful, too.

You will fall in love with yourself.

You will face your fears by swimming icy water, jumping off mountains, and roaming lost in new cities.

You will emerge from your ethnocentric shell

And realize we’re all together on this incredible journey called “life.”

You will touch the hearts of America’s youth.

You will accept responsibility for your actions.

And apologize with grace.

You won’t stop being afraid but push forward anyway.

You will learn to equate happiness with experiences instead of things.

You will discover money isn’t all that matters.

Lastly, you will inspire others and yourself.

I want you to know that, even if you’re questioning your beauty and self-worth, you’re still a wonderful, gorgeous, smart, determined person who is absolutely worthy of being called “daughter,” “sister,” and “friend.” Keep your head high. You got this.

Love always,

“Thirty Year Old” Rachel

dear twenty year old

Happy Birthday to me. Now make me smile about turning thirty. I’ve been … sulking about it. Yeah.

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8 Responses to Dear “Twenty Year Old” Rachel

  1. Stacey May 6, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    Happy Birthday! Don’t you wish we really could read a letter like that from our future selves? How much doubt, worry, and angst it would solve. But I guess it wouldn’t keep life very exciting and might even keep us from trying some things.

    I’ve sulked before on a few birthdays myself so not sure I can say not to. Maybe give yourself a day or two and then let it go and get the thirties party started! 🙂

    Here’s to all kinds of wonderful, and unexpected, adventures to find you this year…and for many, many years to come!

    • Rachel Elizabeth May 8, 2017 at 6:47 pm #

      Stacey —

      Thanks so much!! I feel a lot better now, haha. My family and friends were so sweet and happy on birthday, so it was super hard to sulk.

  2. Valerie May 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    <3 Happy Birthday! We're not too far apart in turning 30, so I feel your pain. I would love to spend some time thinking about my 20-year old self and where she was this time 10 years ago… It might scare me a bit 😉

    • Rachel Elizabeth May 8, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      Valerie —

      I saw you turned 30 recently!! I loved your 40 before 40 post! Made me think about what my own goals would be.

  3. Jennifer May 6, 2017 at 8:50 pm #

    The not so wonderful things make us who we are. They pave the way for the great things and make us stronger. Happy 30th birthday awesome woman!

    • Rachel Elizabeth May 8, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      Jennifer —

      I agree the “not so” wonderful bits are what make us special! Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  4. Kara May 6, 2017 at 11:17 pm #

    Happy Birthday Rachel. It only gets better. Never compare yourself with others. Where you are is where you are meant to be. The journey you’re on is a beautiful one.

    • Rachel Elizabeth May 8, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

      Kara —

      Aww, thank you so much! It’s definitely been a beautiful journey.

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