Hi, this may sound insane, but I am you. I'm not you now, but I am you in the future. I am you at 24 and I wanted to talk to you. Just for a bit. I know 24 isn't old enough for "adult" wisdom, but humor me, girl.
First of all, how are you? I don't know how far back this letter will reach, but I hope you are old enough to be able to read. Second of all, I need to tell you the truth about your life. Now, don't worry, nothing bad happens, but I want you to know that the dreams and the plans that you are making for your future might not happen. Not in the way you had hoped.
I know this sounds like the worst possible thing, but it's not. Life might not be what you expected, but it is your life and I want you to be okay with it. I want you to accept this sooner rather than later.
Remember, I am you. I have gone through the pain of realizing that things won't go the way we wanted them to, but I don't want you to think of yourself as a failure. It's a dark path, so I want you to take a deep breath and I want you to understand that we need to go through this, to be able to better ourselves.
At age 18, you're going to go through a lot of changes. By this time, you'd have already passed your first year of college, you just became official with your first boyfriend who will break up with you seven months later after giving him your all, and you're going to lose a lot of your friends.
Now, don't panic, we will get through it, but I need you to be better than I was. I need you to know that him breaking up with you was a good thing and I know it won't feel like a good thing, but it was. You are going to be better for it. I also need you to understand that losing friends is normal, and it's going to happen a LOT. You are not damaged, Louise. You are just going through something in your life that requires you to approach friendships in a different way and, because of that, you're going to lose people who haven't necessarily been treating you in ways that friends should be treating you.
Look, things will happen to you, and I don't want to spoil any more things. The good and the bad, not all of it, anyway. So let me give you some advice, and you don't have to take it, but I hope you think about it.
Louise, your life is special. You, WE, are special. You need to take care of yourself more and love yourself. I know it won't be easy, we always liked to put ourselves down, but you need to learn to love yourself.
DO NOT, I repeat, do not try to put deadlines on your goals, that will never work. It's only going to put a lot of pressure on you.
Don't talk shit about people, you're going to hate yourself for doing that, and you're going to hate the person we are turning into.
Know that every decision you make will lead you to different paths from where you thought you will be, but that's okay.
Don't EVER stop loving love. We may not have our special someone now, but we don't need him. He's more of a bonus, per se. Hey, look, as long as we have our family and our friends, we'll be fine. And, who knows, if he does come, maybe he'll be a great addition to our life that will, hopefully, be imperfectly perfect.
Most of all, I need you to just be happy, genuinely. You may not be where you want to be now, but there's always a reason for everything. You have to believe that, because I do, and I am you.
Louise, your older, less naive self