Dear 30 Year Old Olivia,
I write this letter to you at 18 years old on a rainy Wednesday afternoon from my dorm room. As a freshman in college I've been thinking a lot about the future and how I want it to look and who I want to be, so that's why I decided to write this letter today. So, here is what I have to say to my future self.
By now you've learned that nothing is as bad as it seems. And everything you thought would be the end of the world wasn't, you are still alive and breathing. I hope you can reflect and realize that everything happened for a reason, and your struggles are what turned you into the fabulous person you are today. Use your past experiences to help you in the future, and know that everything will work out in the end. There were so many times you questioned if you'd make it, but here you are. Reading this proves you have been strong enough to get to this point and that you have the strength to go on.
I wonder who you are still friends with. Do you still talk to your high school crew? And if not, why? If there's an old friend you haven't talked to in a while, do your younger self a favor and please call them. A lot of fun was had at those high school lunch tables, and so many valuable friendships were gained, I hope you still keep in touch.Which relationships stuck and which ones didn't work out? Also, I hope you are still friends with your Chart Room friends, because those were your favorite people in the whole world. Do you remember the summers they saved you from your life? Between the 1am McDonalds trips and crying in the beer fridge, those were the glory days. They changed your teenage world and some serious hell was raised and some good times were had. Don't forget about them, I'd like to think you still talk to them frequently. If not, reach out, please hangout with them soon, because I bet you miss them. How about your college friends? Who stayed by your side? And as for the friendships you continue to make, don't keep any toxic people in your life. You spent so many years tolerating toxic relationships and I hope you realized you don't deserve that anymore. Spend time with people who make you glad you're alive.
Did you follow your heart to New York City? Is it everything you imagined it would be? I like to think that's where I'll be living at age 30. I hope you are doing something you love, and if you aren't then quit and find something else, life is too short to waste time on a job that makes you unhappy. Are you working for a magazine or TV station? Or did you realize that wasn't what you wanted at all? I know that no matter what you followed your gut, and it's never been wrong before, so trust in that. I hope that you are doing what you want to do and living for yourself, because you spent so long trying to please others. You've always been a people pleaser, but I hope you have finally learned pleasing yourself is the only think that matters. Follow your heart and your passion and you will always be going in the right direction.
I really hope you are still writing, and if not, you better start again right now. Do you remember when you first started writing for the Inside Scoop at Morse Pond in the 5th grade? You always had such a talent and love for writing. I like to think you are still blogging (maybe on olivinthelife?!), and that you are still writing for fun. Your voice matters and it is relevant, and you have something important to offer the world. Never stop writing, it has always been something you could count on. I hope you are still journaling and writing poetry as well. Did you ever write that book like you said you wanted to? If not, do it now. You have the ideas and the drive, write the book for that 16 year old girl with the dream in her head. The world deserves to hear what you have to say. What's holding you back? Stop making excuses and follow your dreams, there's nothing to lose.
Speaking of hobbies, you better still be practicing yoga. Remember your first class ever at the end of freshman year? If for some crazy reason you have strayed from yoga, do yourself a favor and get to the nearest studio ASAP. But if I were to guess it is my hope that you are still practicing regularly. Yoga changed things for you, it was there for you when nothing else was. When you practice now, remember how you felt when you would escape your hectic high school life and find peace in the studio. Don't forget about the people you met along the way either, they were your favorite people and they had a huge impact on you. I'm hopeful that you still keep in touch with them and maybe even visit your old studio, but if not then reach out soon and reminisce. No matter where you go in life yoga will always be there for you, don't neglect it. I bet you can probably do headstands and other crazy inversions I can only dream of right now, be sure to remember all the hard work it took to get there. And when everything turns to shit(as it sometimes does), allow yourself to retreat to your mat and take care of yourself. Don't forget to read some Pema Chodron every once in a while, she always knows what to say in times of need.
I hope you have finally learned to love yourself my dear. I hope that when you look in the mirror you love what you see. I hope you've stopped the crazy diets and the obsessive exercise. I hope you have deleted the calorie counter once and for all. You spent so long disliking yourself, and why? Please stop making negative comments and jokes about yourself, your favorite defensive mechanism. But writing this I have a hunch that you have overcome it all. By loving yourself I hope it helped you welcome the love of others, and that you've found people who love you for who you are. Never settle for less than you deserve. Believe you deserve to be loved, and allow someone to love you as much as you love yourself. Wake up every morning and love yourself to make up for all the days you did not.
But most of all Olivia, I hope you are happy. I hope that you have fallen in love with yourself and your life. I hope you smile till your cheeks hurt and laugh until you cry. I hope you are finally happy because you deserve it. No matter where life takes you be sure you are doing whatever makes you happy. Don't let other people dictate your happiness because they will drop it every time. Be happy because you can. Do it for the sophomore year you who cried every day after school, for the younger you who wondered if happiness even existed. Be proof that happiness does exist. And whatever it is that is making you happy, hold on to it for dear life.
And lastly, make me proud. Remember the little girl with hopeful blue eyes and blonde curls who just wanted to grow up, don't let her down. Do everything you do with your heart and soul and you can't go wrong. Be proud of yourself for making it this far and accomplishing so much. It's okay to stumble and make mistakes, but picking yourself up and moving on is what is important. And when you feel like you can't go on and life is falling apart, remember how far you have come. Don't forget who you are and where you came from.
Stay true to yourself and don't change for anybody. Continue to shine like the star you are and always have been and always will be.
18 Year Old Olivia