Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

Sure, it was not all that long ago, but having recently turned 30, I was particularly struck when I saw this feature on one of the blogs I follow.  The idea of what I would tell my younger self stayed with me, and I finally sat down to put those vague and misty thoughts into words.  I decided that I could have really used my future self's advice in high school rather than at 20, so I aimed my letter at 18-year-old me.

Dear 18-year-old Hanna,

Thank you for realizing that high school isn't it, but you've only got the glimmer right now.  Embrace it fully.  These girls are never going to accept you.  They're always going to judge you by the clothes you wear and by whether you are exactly like them.  And you're totally right, you are never ever going to be able to do it.  So don't feel guilty about it anymore.  Stop seeing that as a drawback.  You are weird, girl.  Love it.  Because when you get to be my age, everyone is going to be striving to stand out.  

Don't worry about not being that interested in the guys in your classes either.  You can listen to your mother and give them a chance (and boy, will you end up with some good stories out of it), but there's nothing wrong with being picky.  Because it will happen much sooner than you think.

And about that.  He's a tough nut to crack.  You'll have to be strong.  Hold tight to your belief in his love.  Because it's there even if it's hard to see it sometimes.  It's not going to be like in a movie (give that idea up right now because that will bite you in the ass time and again, believe me), and you'll think that it might be easier to give up, but the good will always, always outweigh the bad.  He will be your sounding board, your anchor, and your greatest entertainment, and you will never regret holding on.

There will be some heartbreak ahead.  It will get rocky.  You'll have to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and it will often be incredibly difficult.  But it will teach you empathy and loyalty.  Change will happen, and fighting it will only hurt you more; so forgive, and let it go. 

Finally, don't overdo it on the tequila.  Every single time you do, it will not be pretty.  Also, enjoy that high metabolism, and stop comparing.  You look amazing!  (And you're totally right, he does have a thing for you.)

Thanks for being willing to try new things, for questioning the way it's always been done, and for embracing adventure.  This will never let you down, and it will fill your life with fantastic stories and magical experiences.

Love you,


  1. Wow, Hanna! Pretty good advice;) I love the tequila comment...brings back some memories!!!

  2. The tequila comment got to me too, but in a gaggy sort of way.

    If only we were as smart then as we are now. You are an amazing woman Hanna and I am lucky to have you as my friend!!

  3. I got misty reading this....if only we could have really had a glimpse at 18 of what life would be like between 18 and 30. Imagine what we will say in a letter to our 30-something self when we are 90!

  4. Love it! Do you remember that letter we wrote to ourselves when we were pledges? I vaguely remember getting it after I graduated but can't remember what I said in it. I'm sure my entire outlook is totally different now!