Dear 18-year old self,

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Hey, 18-year old Liz. Sup.  This is the future you writing to share a few things. You probably won’t listen because you’re stubborn (and you won’t grow out that either) but I feel like I should try to help.

At 18, you are now finishing up high school, preparing for your last summer before going off to college in the fall.  You live at home with your parents; your older and cooler sister is off in the real-world.  Your room is plastered with pages from the Ambercrombie & Fitch catolouges, and smiling pictures of you arm in arm with all your girlfriends.  You are still jaded from being dumped by the love of your life.  I assure you, he is not the love of your life.  While he grows up to be a fairly decent man, he was a douche in high school. Seriously. (no offense, dude)

You will casually date in college.  Do more of that.  Boyfriends are great, and they give that warm, fuzzy secure feeling, but you have a LONG time to be secure.  Sitting in the seventh year of being with our husband, I will tell you, it’s wonderful to cross that finish line, but good Lord, have fun before you get there!  College is the only time in life when you can act “like that.”  Once you graduate, you will be expected to button-up, get a job, and be responsible.  At no other point will you be allowed to take afternoon naps after your one class of the day, get dressed in a super skimpy tank top, drink too much, pass out in the hallway of your dorm in the middle of making out with that random hottie from your English lit class.  These types of actions are frowned upon at most corporate holiday parties.  Please note: I am not encouraging you to sleep around.  Be smart.  At an appropriate parenting age you will have two beautiful daughters and we greatly appreciate being able to pee without a burning sensation.

And while we’re on the subject of men, please be more careful with our heart.  There are 100 d-bags out there for every decent guy.  The d-bags are always super cute and very exciting.  This fun can only be sustained for a short period of time.  Learn to recognize when the party has ended and leave before the crowds bum rush the doors.  Too many tears are shed as a result of these assholes.  Refer back to lover boy from high school.  Not worth our time.

When it comes to men who are worth our time, we will eventually meet one.  After a successful long-distance relationship (the urban legends are true) we will marry him - and it will be the best wedding you've ever attended, obviously.  Do us a favor - be patient with him, especially after our first daughter is born.  He tries very hard.  He really is a great father.  And having a baby is incredibly difficult.  Anyone who thinks that having a baby will save a relationship is an idiot.  You will often consider killing the baby, yourself or your husband, all in one breath.  Restrain.  Try to remember, even when he does things differently than you, if he doesn't harm/drop/dismember the baby, it's OK.  Sure, it's not as perfect as we would do it, but it'll do.

Flip through those stacks of photos.  See all those smiling girlfriends next to us?  A vast majority of them will remain good friends and have a kick ass dance party at our wedding.  We have had these ladies in our life for a very long time, and I am happy to tell you that not much changes over the years.  Encourage and nurture these relationships.  As you get married and have babies, you need a net of women to catch you when you stumble, and you will stumble.  In fact, some days get pretty bleak. I don’t want to spoil the end of the book, but the whole marriage and mom thing is not as easy as it may seem.  Call a friend or two.  Don’t be ashamed.  You would do the same for them in a heartbeat, and they love you for it.

Be nicer to our parents.  They seem like total dictators right now, but they really want the best for you.  I don’t know how else to explain it to you, other than you have to blindly trust me, which I know an arrogant teenager would never do.  Your parents will be a huge support for you later.  Our daughters adore them, and through their eyes, you realize they really are amazing people.  Be especially nice to our mom.  Once you become one, you’ll know why this is critical to follow.  No one will ever love you like your mother.

In college, you’ll study English and creative writing.  Stick with it.  You’ll be offered other jobs, but they will stifle your creative sense, even though they pay the bills.  I don’t intend for you to be some starving artist, but recognize what you want and what you love and don’t wait to get it.  Here, this 30-year old is finally writing again and it feels amazing; we should have been doing it all along.

Even after I write all of this advice down, I really don’t want too much to change.  Friends and family will always be super important to you, and with my sage advice, those bonds can only grow stronger.  Our parents still love us, despite being a total bitch at times - they are our parents, would we expect any less.  Those waste-of-space guys toughened your skin and made you the confident woman that our husband falls in love with.  We grow into a pretty kick-ass person.  Don’t screw it up.


Becky said...

I feel like this is a letter to me, haha. I'm in college, studying English and Creative Writing. Thanks for the tips--like you said, college is one of the only times where you can really have fun and go crazy! And hopefully I'll meet somebody who's worth my time too :)

Melissa Ryan said...

I could have written this same letter to myself when I was 18. I kind of wish my future self had written me a letter as it would have spared me a lot of grief.


Kelley @ TheGrantLife.com said...

I love this letter! I love 18 year old and todays Liz too. :)

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