An Open Letter To My 18 Year Old Self

As I was going through my old Tumblr tonight, I found a draft for a very personal blog post I wrote to myself the night before my 21st birthday. Five months later, I've forgotten about this letter I wrote to myself, but was at peace I was after reading it because it reminded me that life moves forward.

No matter what age I am--or what age you are (yes you, reading this)--I feel like it is something that can relate to everyone's life no matter how old you are or what your past holds.

So, here is My Open Letter To My 18 Year Old Self:

Dear Jen,

Three years ago, I would have never thought I would be where I am today. Three years ago, I just turned 18, was in my senior year of high school, and my life was a mess. I just got out of a messy break-up from a two year, long distance relationship with a guy I’m convinced took advantage of me. I was just getting accepted into university to a program that I thought would lead me in a career field I thought I wanted to be in. I was dependent on what others thought of me; but I never let others help me. I felt the need to rely on a boy or a relationship to give me self-confidence. I was losing friends left and right because the people who I thought were my “friends” split when I started making decisions for myself while trying not to care what others thought of me. I was shy, kept to myself and my small circle, and pushed aside opportunities because I thought trying and failing was the worst thing that could happen to me. And to top it off, despite how hard I tried to keep it together, I had no clue what I wanted for my future.

Today, I am 21--and oh how things have changed. I’m the author of a successful Lifestyle blog, a technology blogger/writer for The Local Biz Magazine, have a YouTube gaming channel, and just opened my very own Etsy Sticker Store specializing in Planner/Functional Stickers! I just celebrated my three year anniversary with my high school sweetheart. I am almost finished my third year of university and am graduating from my program in about a year’s time. I still have a small circle--but no longer is it made up of friends; but of my second family. I am more open to taking chances, taking on opportunities, and trying to make the best of life. Nevertheless, there is still so much more work to be done and so much more to accomplish in life! This is just the start!


If there is anything I wish I could have told 18 year old me:

You need to learn to love and believe in yourself. The one thing I think I lacked the most was the self-confidence in myself--that I could do BIG and GREAT things. You don’t need the self-assurance of anyone else. You don’t need someone holding your hand, telling you every step of the way that you’re doing great. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you. If you don’t think you’re beautiful, successful, empowering, limitless--no one else will think you are either. You’ll just sit in a puddle of missed opportunities, bad relationships and self-pity. Life’s too short to ponder on what “could” have happened because you didn’t believe you could do it.

You should forgive. Forgive those who let you down. Forgive those who betrayed you. Forgive those who took advantage of your niceness. Forgive those who made you feel less than what you are. Forgive those who made you hate waking up in the morning and those who made it hard to sleep at night. But most importantly forgive yourself. There is no reason to continue to look back and weep over mistakes you made years ago. Mistakes and bad decisions are all part of growing up. It is all part of the experience. it is part of life. Forgive yourself for all the times you hurt yourself. Forgive yourself for all the times you didn’t say something when you know you should have. Forgive yourself for situations that were beyond your control. Just because things did not go the way you wanted it to be doesn’t mean it was your fault. Sometimes things just happen and you have no control over it. See it as a blessing.

No matter how much a boy breaks your heart, no relationship is a wasted relationship. No matter how bad the break-up or the relationship in general, it was still an experience who molded you into who you become. All the nights you spent crawled up in bed at 4 am crying to yourself because he was “out late with the boys”, got too drunk, and cheated on you again? It was an experience to remind you of your self-worth. All the times he shamelessly called you degrading names when you fought? It was a reminder that you need to get out and you deserve someone in the future that doesn’t say hurtful things to you. Eventually, with all of these bad experiences, you will form a “type” which will help you find someone who treats you like a princess, cares for you like a best friend, and works with you like a business partner--who will share similar goals and beliefs; but will also introduce you to so many new amazing experiences. Just hang in there.

No matter how much you want to believe you can do it on your own, you need to accept help from others. There will be people you will learn to trust, love, and will become your second family--your small group of best friends. On your hardest days and your most depressing nights, they will be the ones who listen to you rant, hug you when you cry, and make you laugh at unfunny jokes when you don’t even feel like smiling. They will be there to carry you through the ranks (lol of league ;D), laugh and take care of you when you had too much to drink, and cover for you when you all know you did a “no-no”. You need someone to rely on to get through the days--or days will start to look very lonely. You need to start breaking down walls.

No matter how much you want to trust them, not everyone can be trusted. Even so, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. People will lie to you. People will betray you. People will try to change others' perspectives of you. Why? You may never know or understand, but that doesn't mean you can't move forward in life. Eventually it won't hurt anymore. When people walk in and out of your life, it will no long cause distress. Instead, you will have already noticed they were distancing and it won't surprise you or phase you when they are gone. Just smile and move forward with your life. There's no point in crying over spilled milk. Everyone has a story and they just aren't part of the next chapter of your life and you are no longer apart of theirs.

At the end of the day, you just have to be true to yourself and all else will fall into place. Don't fall into the dark caves of haters and peer pressure because you are worth so much more than that. You can--and WILL--achieve so much more than that. Just don't give up and lose on you

Love Always, 

Jen xo


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