I’m in the last year of my twenties, which means I think I’m a lot wiser than I really am. Recently … thanks mostly to Throwback Thursdays, the Crash Course educational series on YouTube, and the work of playwright Jose Rivera … I started wondering what my current, past and future selves might say to one another if they all met somehow, and I compiled this list of things I would love to go back in time and say to myself at the end of my teens. I wouldn’t answer any of her obvious questions (No, you really shouldn’t get back together with him; Yes, you’ll be able to pay your way through school, so relax) because, hey, there are some lessons she needs to learn the hard way. Also, to keep things interesting, I would purposely not divulge which parent will move overseas, when and where and why I get tattooed, or how much (or is it how little?) I weigh in spring 2015.
Here are 29 pieces of advice for the 2005 edition of myself, delivered with lots of love and a steupse or two.
1. Look for “flaws” in your character, not your appearance.
2. What you do when no one is watching matters even more than you already know.
3. The sooner you acknowledge the power of your words, the better things will be.
4. It is possible to create great art from a happy place.
5. You have the best dad ever too.
6. Practice being quicker to get over disappointments and slower to roll your eyes.
7. I love that you take so many pictures, but you don’t need to have double copies of all of them. (Also, since we’re on the subject: in one of the pictures up top, if not both, you are actually 18. You took so many that year there weren’t many to pick from the year after. But it’s all good, because your looks haven’t changed much since you were 2.)
8. Figure out how to control your emotions, and your imagination, or else they will control you.
9. When it comes to money, pay more attention to the direction than the amount.
10. Also, go out of your way to learn more about finances than what you’re being told.
11. Asking for help does get easier.
12. Saying goodbye gets easier too.
13. Letting go after saying goodbye will probably get easier. One day. I hope.
14. Soon you’ll come across this thing called Facebook, and I applaud your decision to hold out for awhile. But get on the Instagram bandwagon quickly.
15. Never stop dancing.
16. Singing will take you further than you think. Feel free to interpret that literally.
17. Don’t worry that you’re too old to get back into acting.
18. Don’t worry that you’re too old for anything.
19. Don’t worry. At all.
20. Take your own eighth-grade advice: Travel, travel, travel! (You remember why you said that, right? Good.)
21. Being single can be sexy. And “sexy” has a greater and better meaning than you realize right now.
22. Go clubbing a lot over the next little while; you’ll get tired of it pretty soon.
23. Experiences > possessions.
24. Classics > hits.
25. American men will always be a thing.
26. Take your time figuring out where you stand on religion and spirituality.It is nobody’s business but your own.
27. The only difference between a valley and a hill is your perspective.
28. I am extremely proud of you.
29. You are going to love what comes next.