So, with the close of 2015, it’s been a decade since my college graduation. A decade of “adulting,” so to speak. A decade of hashing it out in the real world. How did I do, you ask. Meh. I could have done better.
But, there is no sense in looking back, all we have is today. But, I have been thinking about who I was at 22, and what I might have thought 2015 would look like. That girl would be severely disappointed. But, here is what I would say to her should I meet her in some sort of fuzzy time travel matrix.
Don’t get so hung up on where you’re going that you forget to find love. Right now, you think that boys are distraction along the way, although your armor is starting to chink. But, let love in. In the end, you will find that that is all there really is in life anyway, love.
Success is not always measured in money, status and material things. And, since you’re going after an artistic career, you’d better get used to that idea. Do what makes you happy, and you will never have a job….But you might not make any money. That’s the terrible truth that Disney didn’t tell you when they told you to follow your dreams. Your dreams may not pay, and you’re going to have to be okay with that for a while.
Write. Write and Write. And when you’ve written everything there is to write—breathe deeply. See life. And then write about it. Don’t get so caught up in what you think it should look like, where the money is coming from, or the big idea of the piece and how it will change the world.
There will be time for that. But right now, have fun with it and write with everything in you. Write until your heart bleeds red onto the page. Write until your mind is so consumed with words, that you can almost hear the neurons in your brain firing with ideas coming so fast that you race to capture them in time.
Right now, there is so much you want to do, and that’s great. But, there’s a lot of work between here and there. And you’re going to have to put in the years. I’m sorry.
You can’t expect things to happen overnight. Everything you want must be patiently and tediously worked for. The years will pass anyway. So, don’t be afraid to invest them into what you want. Your twenties will be gone in a flash. Make them count.
But don’t forget to live. Writing, especially, is about seeing life. Don’t be so consumed with “becoming” that you miss life. You’ve been told to zone out the distractions and go after what you want. That’s not completely the way it works. Or at least, you have a tendency to take it too far. Life is beautiful, messy, complicated, painful, and exhilarating. Let it in. And breathe it for everything it’s worth.
Friends are where you find them. Everyone wants to be loved just as much as you do. Everyone worries about saying dumb things, or that their jokes will fall flat, or concerned that their shirt doesn’t look right, or that their hair won’t obey, or that everyone is silently judging them for something that no one actually noticed.
Don’t let your fears and insecurities ruin great relationships. People are the only thing really in this world. Make time for them, and the rest will follow.
Don’t waste your time being friends with people that aren’t friends with you. Snobby people aren’t worth your tears. And winning them over doesn’t make you a cooler person, it just makes you a masochist. Life is too short to spend nursing hurt feelings.
And above all, my dear 22 year old, with stars in your eyes, calm down. Right now, life is a big candy store, and you’ve been told it’s all yours for the taking. You’ve been told to know what you want and go after it with everything in you. And, to some extent that’s true. But it won’t be this way forever. How quickly life changes. Live deeply, fully, and truly and you will never want.