If I could go back in time, I would do so many things differently. As 19-year-old Kira, I made choices based on the limited knowledge and experience I had at that point. But as time went on, I gained new knowledge and had new experiences. If I could go back as 19-year-old Kira, with the knowledge and experience I have today, I would make such different choices. They always say, hindsight is 20/20.
Which is why I got excited when the folks at Earnest told me about their new project – writing a letter to my college self. Earnest is a helpful resource for post grads, you can check out more here if you want! So if you can tolerate a little melodrama and some pretty cheesy inspirational quotes, then do read on.
You are going to fail. I know it may not seem like that is possible right now, in your insulated college campus bubble. Everyone has told you you are destined for greatness – that you can achieve anything. But here is the truth: you are going to try and you will fail. You’re going to aim high and fall low. You’re going to reach beyond your capabilities and you will crash and burn. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to feel shameful and embarrassing and you will be filled with remorse and regret. You’ll feel as though you never should have tried. And in that moment of fear and shame and guilt and terror, I will tell you one thing…
Keep getting up. You’ll keep falling on your face. Get up again. Don’t ever stop brushing yourself off and trying again. You’ll flounder before you flourish.
You’ll get so caught up in the details, life will begin to pass you by. You’ll suddenly look back, wondering where the time has gone. The pursuit of perfection is the greatest thief of time. You are not perfect. But here is the catch: you shouldn’t be. You mustn’t aim for perfection, for you will be destined to a life of disappointment if you do. Instead, create space for the imperfections in your life. Allow scrapes, scratches, bruises, and scuffs. The most interesting things in life are imperfect. Those without any hardship to overcome lack the strength of character you will possess.
You will walk around for a few years with your head fairly far up your ass. You’ll think parties and boyfriends and high heels the most important things in life. You’ll spend years chasing things that you are convinced will finally, finally, make you happy.
You’ll flounder for years. You’ll waste time and energy and you’ll look back thinking you should have done things so very differently. You will have regrets. They are painful, but try to learn from them. Try to stay present. As time goes on, more will be revealed.
Learn to take advice. Try not to be so defensive.
Someday you’ll fall in love with someone who will bring out the very best in you. He will make you the greatest version of yourself. And he’ll make your heart sing.
Right now, 30 seems far away. It will come sooner than you expect. You may think you will be married with kids by then. But know this: you do not have to have children to be a worthy human being. You are worthy just as you are today, in this moment. Take your time. Self-reflect. Do not rush into having children. Strengthen yourself, so that if the time comes for a child you will be fully developed and stand ready to dive in.
You must learn to support yourself, financially and emotionally. This will be a painful lesson, but an invaluable one. Remember, pain is the touchstone of growth. Your life will be better, deeper, richer not in spite of its challenges, but because of them.
When things are hard (and even when they’re good) remind yourself that it will pass. All things do. You will have a partner to lean on, and you always have your own self to rely on. Work toward being a vessel of goodness and light, and all else will fall into place. Spread love. Open your heart and your mind. Give freely of yourself to others.
Everything is gonna be alright.
Would you write a letter to your college self? What would you say?