As my 27th birthday approaches, I can’t help but think how much I’ve grown, changed and learned in the past ten years. Ten years ago I had just graduated high school and was about to embark on the next chapter of my life: college. If I could write a letter to the little girl I was 10 years ago today, this is what I would say:
Dear Little Michele,
You have high school under your belt and are almost off to college! I know you are nervous about meeting your dorm roomates, your new class schedule, and the life that lies ahead of you. Here are a few gems I would like to lay upon you and inform you about:
- Worry has always been a big part of your life, and it’s about to get much worse. But everything does end up turning out for the better, so don’t waste time crying yourself to sleep and getting so nervous you can’t eat. Turns out all that worrying was just a waste of your time.
- Try to enjoy your time in the School of Nursing with a relaxation and sense of humor. You will get good grades, you will graduate with high honors, and you will prove to yourself you are “smart”. You can ditch all those late night study sessions and stop biting your nails through the tests. Live a little!
- You are going to get your heart broken, and it is going to hurt. But he’s not worth the years and tears you put into him, so move on! You do heal, you do love again, and you do end up with your soul mate in the end, so remember that when you feel like your life is over!
- People will remember the hurtful words you say. You can apologize (and you will) but some of them never forget. Sometimes it is best to hold your tongue before spouting off.
- Two girlfriends will hurt you like no boy ever could. These experiences only make you stronger and force you to realize that true, honest, and good friends are hard to come by.
- Joining a sorority proves to be the best thing that you will ever do. Cherish every minute you are “forced” to spend with these girls at sleepovers, retreats, camps and workshops. What you don’t know yet is that you are creating lifelong, truly lifelong, friendships
- Forget all the years you and your sister spent fighting like cats and dogs. You two are about to become closer than you can imagine, and the best years are yet to come!
- If something just feels wrong, trust your intuition and don’t do it. A move, a job, a relationship. Get out of the situation and move on!
- All those months you will spend crying over money are simply not worth your time, either. Real living and loving is done without spending a penny, although it will take you the better part of 10 years to figure this out.
- Student Loans: Forget about them already! Everyone has them. Don’t ever lose sleep over them again, or wake up in the middle of the night to frantically sort through your file cabinet looking for student loan paperwork, only to go back to bed more upset than before. You never miss a payment, you don't ruin your credit, and you still get to live the life you want.
- You don’t marry by 26 and you don’t start having a family by 27. I know this is hard to read. Breathe in…breathe out…Let go of that ideal image and enjoy living without kids while you can!
And finally, my dear, please remember you are a genuine, true, sympathetic and emotional person. Embrace these aspects of yourself instead of trying to run from them. Your ability to cry at the drop of a hat doesn’t dissapear, but it does make you a more caring nurse, someone who others can relate to and feel comforted by. These past ten years have been good to you; really, exceptionally good. Hopefully I will be back in another 10 to write you again.