So far I’ve been loving the 30 Days of Lists challenge. It’s forced me to sit down each night to be a little creative and write. I check my email every morning for the day’s prompt, and then spend the day thinking about (and, yes, almost making lists of) what I’m going to put on my list that night. I’ve also branched out in my craftiness, which doesn’t often extend past the kitchen. I’ll just say that after spending significant time in the scrapbooking aisle at Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabric, I can understand how this whole creative journaling thing can be come an addiction. So much colored paper. So many stamps! All the pens and markers.
I’ve been posting some of my lists on my Instagram and Flickr if you’d like to sort of follow along. Yesterday’s prompt got me thinking, and I wanted to write more than just my two page list.
Day 9: A Letter to My Younger Self
Dear all of my younger selves,
At 31, I hardly know it all, but I’ve learned some things that I wish I could have shared with you. Listen up. Thirty-one-year-old, self, remember this advice. Sometimes I think you forget these things. You’re not old enough to blame it on age.
1. Take good care of your hair. Find a hair stylist you like who knows how to handle curls. You go through weird phases with your hair. It only got curly in sixth or seventh grade (perhaps we call that a side effect of puberty), and you had a hard time handling it. Hair product is OK. Tying your bangs into a weird, stubby ponytail in the front of your forehead, maybe not the best hairstyle choice. Don’t let someone cut your hair into a mullet for years and years. Don’t let someone tell you that you don’t have the forehead for bangs. Please, please cut your hair more than once a year. Use nice, chemical-free products on your hair. And chop it off. It feels liberating!
2. Have more confidence in yourself. Love yourself. You are pretty amazing. You’ll go through periods where you don’t want to walk with your head high, where you don’t want to speak up for fear of sounding stupid, where you compare yourself to others. Know that you have an important opinion, that you are a fast learner, and are better at lots of things than you think. Be proud of yourself! Look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about what you see. You’ll also go through times where you wish you looked different, had straight hair, thinner thighs, a different profile, a flatter stomach. Know that your body does and will do the most amazing things for you looking just the way it does. Please, please stop wishing you looked different. Have your moments of doubt and bloatedness, but look in the mirror and be proud.
3. Heartbreak sucks. Bake bread and be patient. It’ll be worth it. All those hours you spend crying on the couch, your face buried in your dog’s fur, they’ll hurt like hell and feel like the end of the world. Know that those moments will help you to paint a clearer picture of what you truly want and deserve. They’ll make the right guy, the one who makes your heart whole, that much more special. Power through and look back and laugh.
4. Avoid the drama. Avoid it at work, in your personal life, in your family life. You still need to work on this, 31-year-old Julia. The drama will bring on panic attacks and depression, will end some relationships, which probably needed to end, and will hurt some relationships so much that you worry they’ll never recover (they will, by the way). The drama will make you say ugly things. You are not an ugly person. Avoid it.
5. Your brother may seem very different from you, but you have more in common than you think. You spend a lot of your life telling people that you and your brother are very different. He’s athletic, you’re not. He was popular in school and in a frat, you were a weird honors class kid. You will disagree with him a lot. You will even spend time not speaking. Be grateful for the chances to repair your relationship and to get to know him all over again. Cherish that. You aren’t that different in the end. There are things only a brother gets.
6. Don’t worry, your best friendships will survive distance and lots of other weird shit. Your friends live far away. They move far away. They won’t always be around to watch Dawson’s Creek, make late night Hot Pockets, and talk about nothing and everything on your couch. It’ll feel really hard, but they’ll always be a phone call or a drive or plane ride away. Talking to them will become more special and seeing them will become the highlight of your month or year. Your regularly scheduled get togethers will be much-needed breaks in crazy weeks.
7. More butter. More running. Both make you happy. You won’t remember exactly how you started cooking and baking, but once you start, don’t stop. Even when you’re tired, bake. Even when you don’t want to, chop. It’ll feel good and right. You may not think you’re a runner now, and you won’t think you’re a runner even when you start running. You are. You have really bad runs, but you have amazing ones, too. You’ll make friends through running and friendships you already have will get stronger. Don’t give up. Not even when you’ve sprained your ankle for the fifth time.