I took 6 inches off my hair and decided to go lighter in the roots. A dear friend of mine, Jennifer Teague, made a comment on my coming out picture on Facebook that inspired me. Jen wrote, ” You look like you’re turning 21.”
The comment got me thinking.
New hair in honor of 35.
So I wrote a letter to my 21-year-old self. The gift of reflection is powerful. Another year to try life out is even more incredible. Thanks for being on this journey with me.
I’m gonna give you 35 things that I know now that I didn’t know at 21 years old.
1. Life is not fair. But the good new is you’ll get a few chances to correct. For those things you don’t get a mulligan, you’ll learn lessons that will serve you.
2. You will love a thousand times over.
3. Hangovers get worse with age.
4. When that place in your heart and mind beg you to follow, pay special attention to it. Intuition rarely misleads.
5. When you get wait listed for business school at UNC and tell your parents you’re thinking about being a drama major and your father says to you, “What do you think you’re going to do…go off to NY and be on Broadway?” Don’t get mad. Smile silently knowing that you will indeed move to NYC in a few years despite never making the stage.
6. About the breakdown you had in college regarding the sexual abuse from your childhood… it will one day pass. You’ll have years upon years of work in therapy. You will feel free of it eventually. You will turn that pain into something remarkable. A catalyst for good. You’ll work years later to be an advocate for ending sexual and domestic violence.
7. The move to NYC will bring the best friends of your life. Jamie, Tiffany, and Jen will change your world. Jamie will be your roommate and creative light. Jen will be a mentor. Tiffany will be a soul-mate and very best friend for years to follow.
8. NYC will be your most favorite place on the planet.
9. Your highschool best friend, KB, will be a solid staple in your life to this moment. You will ride a ton of waves with her from the Northeast to Maui and will be her son’s Godmother.
10. NYC equals a lot of money spent, a lot of money made, and the hardest time you’ll know in your self-esteem.
11. Your move to Maui will open you up to your gift in writing. You’ll meet a woman, Jen Hanst, that will change your political landscape. Trust that time.
12. When you decide to move to LA to apply to grad school, have a plan. LA is about to eat you alive. When grad school does not work out, lean on plan B. And, please have a plan B.
13. When the doctor gives you a script for antidepressants, take it. Don’t wait until your 35 to finally realize you need the extra boost.
14. Move in with the girl from Virginia named C-mo. You’ll be in her wedding years to come. She’ll help you stay sane in the event you don’t have a plan B.
15. Take the advice from a friend’s father who is an Exec Producer in Hollywood. When he tells you not to sign your screenplay over (even if it is the largest animation company in the business) listen to him. Walk away from the deal and do not lose sleep over it.
16. When you fall in love with a man who you think is your end-all-be-all, take caution. Be forewarned that you’re about to meet your greatest heartbreak to date.
17. That phone call you get from your brother. The one where he tells you that he’s now engaged and you’re the first he’s told. The call where you chat with your new sister-in-law (knowing little about her.) Trust it will be one of the greatest gifts of your life.
18. When you go to your brother’s wedding (and have learned they are pregnant a few weeks before) and you cry yourself to sleep because you know that the man you’re in love with will never marry you. Trust that the little girl who came into your world courtesy of your new sister and the baby they are about to have will change your world entirely.
19. Your relationship with your father will painfully begin to heal when he flies out to LA to drive you across country home.
20. You will survive the drive home.
21. You will whole-heartedly believe you have hit rock bottom.
22. You will live with your parents, you will work as an admin in an office, you will remark to yourself that you had bigger plans in life and question how you ended up here.
23. You will further your advocacy for ending domestic violence and sexual assault by producing The Vagina Monologues in Apex, NC.
24. New friends will find you.
25. A job will come your way. One that will lead you to Africa and Asia.
26. Fall in love with science. It will teach you well.
27. Continue to be an advocate for women and children against violence and abusive behavior. They need you. You’ll learn later in an adult relationship that you need you.
28. Continue to take risks.
29. Date despite the fact that your heart is painfully hurt.
30. Speaking of hearts, the very best news is that your father and you are in good shape. You’re gonna be shocked at how amazing you find him. He’s an incredible grandfather and has worked really hard to repair his absence with you. You love, respect, and call him on a regular basis.
31. Take calculated chances in life.
32. That trip to Spain solo will be well worth it.
33. When they tell you that you’re too busy to have a dog, shake him ‘em off.
34. When you worry yourself sick that your newborn nephew, Cale, will not make it trust that one day some four years later he will lay in the bed with you watching Polar Express.
35. Mom will still be your best friend. All these years later.
Stay stong and love lots,
Somer (35 and counting)