Letter To My 15-Year-Old Self

My submission for this month’s Carnival of Journalism

Dear Self of 15 Years Age,

I want to start by saying we are not the same person, you and I. You dream about me all the time. You imagine I’ve “made it” somehow, whether it means being rich enough to finally shop at Anthropologie (or better, have married the rich husband), or, empathetic enough to finally move to Africa and spend the rest of your (our) days working at an orphanage. We’d be happy either way. 

Anyway, people will keep telling you to slow down, to enjoy where you’re at now. Don’t slow down. We’re having so much fun. 

When you get to 20 you’ll be shocked at how much you’ve accomplished – you’ll mention that you were once shy and someone will actually not have noticed. When you’re 25 you’ll have a master’s degree and your dream job which are both goals you’ve had but you won’t have expected them to come so soon and within a year of each other. 

But of course, you can’t revel in those moments for too long because even jobs can be fleeting. 

There will be times when you regret just about everything – leaving San Diego, coming back to San Diego, coming to NYC, not moving there sooner, and not being more _____. “Why can’t you be more _____,” you’ll say to yourself, “it’s what those other people are doing and they’re perfectly happy. When you start to feel that way, all it means is that you should spend the evening with a glass of wine and a novel rather than Facebook (by the way, you like wine). 

Sometimes when life seems monotonous or you wonder if you’ll just always live with roommates and never have enough space – you’ll tell yourself, "Someday you’ll look back on this as the happiest time in your life.” You’ll make this true, just by acknowledging it, and it’s especially true of that year you lived by the beach, worked at a coffee shop and taught yoga.

I’m excited for you (me). Because the next five years are absolutely going to be the best. There’s so much that you want to do, now, at age 15, that hasn’t been done yet. But with every new challenge, new city, new job, you’ll shed a layer like a butterfly and become a better version of yourself – and that’s why you wouldn’t recognize me on the street. I’m sorry to say I’m not like you at all. But it’s OK to outgrow your surroundings. As Steven Pressfield says, new friends will present themselves.

One last spoiler: You haven’t written a book yet.

– Danielle of 28 Years Age