Hey younger me, how’s it going? Knowing us, you’re probably stressing right now about where you’re headed or if your next leap is going to land. I know for a fact you’re also jonesing for your next adventure, because when aren’t we?
Settle in and slow that restless heart for a second; I’m here to tell you a few things that I’ve learned over the years.
1. It’s Okay to Say No
Listen, there are going to be plenty of people who are willing to take, and take, and take from you if you let them. But, want to know a secret? You don’t have to give everything to everyone. World shaking, I know. Get this. People are lucky to have you around. Let that sink in, then put it on a loop in your brain. Stop giving yourself away because you want to be kind. That’s simply not being kind to yourself.
2. Set Boundaries
Some people are not meant to be in your life. Remember that bad feeling you get around certain people? Listen to it. Shut those people out. They aren’t in our life anymore and we’re better for it. It’s okay to set boundaries and live by them. Not everyone means well or deserves your precious time.
3. Love Yourself
As the great Ru Paul herself says, “If you can’t love yourself how the hell are you going to love somebody else?” You don’t have to put yourself last and you don’t have to punish yourself for making mistakes. You’re learning. We all are. Be kind to yourself, love yourself, and give yourself the grace you freely offer to others. You deserve it.
4. It’s a Big World Out There
I know our hometown has always made you feel like a big flashy goldfish in a small pond full of guppies, but all that is about to change. The world is huge and it’s all out there waiting for you. You’re going to see a sprawling share of it in a short span of time. You’ll meet a lot of people and explore places and spaces you’ve never imagined. You’ll see mountain skies at night and busy city streets at dawn. So, hold on tight.
5. Stay Hungry
This one sounds like a cliche and is definitely something you’d roll your eyes at, but listen up, because I mean it. Some of our biggest aspirations and dreams? They come true. They didn’t just fall in our lap, we worked hard and stuck it out through some tough times, but we made some real dreams come to fruition. If I were to tell you the things we get to do and the titles we take on you’d be up all night excited about it. Just you wait.
6. Let the Right One In
You’re going to fall in love with people. Or at least, you’ll damn sure think that it’s love. You’re also going to think they are forever, but most of them? They’re not. I know that’s hard to believe because you worry there’s only just one person for you. I promise you that when you meet the right one, it’s going to feel like fireworks and a warm blanket all at once. You’ll know it when you feel it. I promise. It will be as easy as opening a door and welcoming them in. And oh, what a love it is.
7. Love Loud
I know we’ve always been passionate about the things we love, the hobbies, the people, the pets. Say those things out loud. Some of the people who have been constants in our life will be gone someday, far too soon. The pets we adore will have been laid to rest. Love hard and love loud while they’re here. Tell people how much you love and appreciate them. Spend all the time you want petting Buddy the family lab and playing with your beloved herd of stray cats in the yard. These times are fleeting. These moments will pass. There’s always more love to be had and to share, but treasure these times.
8. Be Present
We’re always itching for the next anime convention, the next midnight movie release, book release, costume contest, road trip, but listen. Be sure that you’re standing still in each moment. Even if it’s just for a sec. You will look back later and savor those memories. You get to be a part of some really unique and incredible experiences. And there are many more to come, but remember to be in the moment instead of always rushing off to the next one.
9. Your Quirks Make You Powerful
Embrace The Drama™. The good drama, like loving intense monologues in movies, getting chills from live theatre, and performing soliloquies in the living room while standing on the edge of the couch. It’s what makes us unique, and it’s what gets us noticed time and time again. It’ll be mocked by people who don’t matter. Stay you. The best ones in your life will love it. Embrace your love of drama and revel in the power of it. It will take you far.
10. Keep Your Passion Alive
Don’t let anyone dull your flame. Ever. There will be plenty of those who will try to extinguish you, and those who do are intimidated by your charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. Stay fiery. Feel big feelings. Cry over things that move you, in joy or in grief. There’s too much coldness in the world to douse your spark. It’d be a waste, and it’s what makes you who you are.
Alright, so I know you won’t believe this, but everything turned out okay. Remember that thing we were worried about? And that other thing? All of it’s going to be alright. Actually, it’s going to be better than we ever imagined.
Just trust me.