A Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self

So tomorrow is the big day! The day this entire blog was written about. I turn 30! Turning 30 has made me think a lot about what it was like when I was turning 20 and saying goodbye to my teens. I didn’t handle it very well. There were panic attacks and I actually wet the bed the night of my birthday. (This is a true story and maybe I’ll tell you lucky people about it in another post.)

For now, let’s go back to poor, little 20-year-old Liz. She was not excited about leaving her teens behind her and entering her twenties. Current Liz still isn’t 100% sure on what she wants with her life and the direction it is going to take. But 20-year-old Liz might as well have been on another planet. She didn’t even know what hairstyle worked best for her face or how to put on eyeliner. She was a lost soul who needed a lot of guidance.

Now being a wise, almost 30-year-old (that was oozing with sarcasm in case you didn’t realize), there is so much I would like to tell my 20-year-old self. I would just like to remind her that her twenties are not going to be as fabulous as she can imagine but they are also not as horrible as they will sometimes feel.

Dear 20-year-old Liz,

Hey girl! It’s me (you) the day before you turn 30! Yep, you live for at least another ten more years. Congratulations! I’m sure you have a shit ton of questions for me. Sorry, I can’t answer all of them. I don’t wanna spoil the entire next ten years for you. But here’s a few bits of advice (mixed with some spoilers) that I really wish I had heard way back then.

I want to start off by telling you that you’re not old. Not even in the slightest. Every birthday these next ten years will for some reason fill you with dread. Just stop and enjoy it! There’s nothing old about being in your early twenties.

I know you’ve always been a pretty anxious person but it’s just going to get a lot worse. Sorry! But you do find little tricks that help with your anxiety. Whenever it gets too bad, remember to take a deep breath. Steadying your breathing really helps. A glass of wine is always a great thing when your anxiety hits you at night. (Don’t make that gagging face. You learn to love wine. It’s so much better than that gross soco and lime shit you drink now.) Don’t wait so long to go see a doctor about the issue. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and you’re going to feel a lot better once you go. When all else fails, go for a drive. Driving does wonders to calm your nerves. (Spoiler: you FINALLY get your license!)

Stop fighting with Pam and Jeannie so much. You guys are going to go through so many dumb fights these next ten years and go through significant periods of not speaking. It’s never worth it. You always make up and you guys remain as close as ever. You’re stuck with each other for life. Even if you were to get married tomorrow (Spoiler: you’re not getting married tomorrow), your friendship with Pam and Jeannie will most likely be the longest relationship you’ll have in your life. Be nicer to one another.

I am sorry for this part because I know you’re not an idiot so you will know exactly why I am saying this. But I can’t hold it in, and need you to know. Hang out with Grandma as much as you can. I know you already spend a lot of time with her, but do more. It’s never going to feel like you spent enough time with her. Watch more TV with her, write down more of her recipes, watch her cook, give her tons of hugs.

I know you’re freaking out right now and stressed about a lot of things. I wish I could tell you that it all gets better and by the time you’re thirty all your dreams have come true. They haven’t. In a lot of ways you’re just as confused about life as you were back then. But in SOOO many ways things are a lot better.

Work and school is freaking you out at the moment. And it’s going to be a problem for you for the majority of the next ten years. But I can let you know that things get SO much better. It takes awhile and you’re going to go through a lot of shit jobs, but by this point, you’re going to have a job you absolutely love. It’s true! You’re going to enjoy going to work every morning. I won’t spoil all the fun and tell you what it is but you wind up being incredibly happy in your career.

At 20 your love life is in shambles. Things get better there. Only about 10% better but that’s still something. You do learn a lot about dating in your twenties. Don’t stress so much and overanalyze every little thing that happens with a guy you’re dating. Trust me, most of the time there isn’t some hidden meaning behind a guy’s text message. Stop feeling so uncomfortable when taking your clothes off in front of a guy. You are NOT fat! And even when your stomach starts to get a few extra pounds, no guy cares. You are never going to come across a guy who stops talking to you after seeing you naked. Embrace your body. Don’t  force things with a guy you don’t like but at the same time, stop being so picky. Keep the standards you have but don’t run the second you notice one tiny thing you don’t like about a guy. It pretty much takes you the whole ten years of your twenties to learn these things. I wish I had learned them a lot sooner.

I wish I could tell you that when you’re thirty you have an awesome apartment in the city, a job paying 6 figures, and a gorgeous husband. You don’t have any of these things. (I’ll give you a moment to cry about this tragedy.)

Now here’s the thing you need to know about all those things. They’re nice but they are not what make a happy life. Here’s what you do have by the time you’re thirty: a job you absolutely love and that provides you enough money to live on your own; amazing friends who are there for you when you need them; a wonderful relationship with your sisters; a better understanding of what you do and do not want when dating; and confidence in yourself and your abilities like you could have never imagined before.

I won’t sugar coat it, your twenties are going to be rough. There are going to be so many ups and downs. But embrace both the good times and the bad times. You will learn so much about yourself and the things you want in life. And don’t spend the whole decade stressing about the big 3-0. It’s not nearly as painful as you can imagine it.

Good luck and enjoy your twenties!

Love,

30-year-old Liz

P.S. I can’t stress this enough. Please give Grandma several giant hugs from me!

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32 comments

  1. Oh my love, this was such an incredible ode to your twenty-year old self (no YOU’RE slightly ugly crying as you read this!). But in all seriousness, what a true testament to where you were and how far you’ve come! Wishing you the greatest and happiest and most fantabulously kickass birthday, girl! You have so much to look forward to the next decade and I couldn’t be more excited and happy for you! xoxo

  2. I can’t believe its finally here! I have been here waiting with you every step of the way lol. When I first found your blog, I was new to the blogging world. Your blog was one of the firsts to capture my heart and I instantly binge-read every post to that date. In fact, it was before I turned 30 too! I am so glad that you’ve come to so many beautiful realizations and in the next few months, it’ll feel like you’re back in your 20′ all over again lol – just a lot wiser. Happy birthday to you Liz!!

  3. Reblogged this on mind JO business and commented:
    FROM NOSY JOSIE: I would like to take a moment to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to LIZ of AM I THIRTY YET!!! When I first found Liz’s blog, I was new to the blogsphere. Hers was one of the first blogs to capture my heart and I instantly binge-read every post. She has been more of an example to me in her writing style that she may realize :). LIZ, I am so glad that you’ve come to so many beautiful realizations about life in time to cherish your 30th birthday. In the next few months, it’ll feel like you’re in your 20′ all over again lol – just a lot wiser. Happy birthday to you Liz!!

  4. Seriously, though, happy belated birthday! I miss my grandma too. Sadly, by the time I was 20, she was already fading fast. Losing a grandparent to Alzheimer’s is horrible.

    1. Darn! I keep trying to exit on a happy note! Congratulations, you have taken your first step into a larger world. There we go. Hope you’re having a great March!

      1. Haha, thanks for the comments. Sorry about your grandmother. I can only imagine. Alzheimer’s is such a horrible disease. And thank you. My March has been a little stressful but I’m managing. Hope your March is going splendidly!

  5. Hey Liz,

    Happy happy birthday (belated). Sorry, I wished you late. I have infact been looking for a new post from you every other day. Looks like I have missed to find this in the reader.

    This post couldn’t have been more perfect. Cute, heart warming and all that. Sending lots of love and hugs to you.

    Have an awesome 30s ❤

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