April 24, 2024

A Letter To My 20-Year-Old Self On My 30th Birthday

Dear 20-year-old Charley, Hey girl. How’s it going? (Almost) 30-year-old you here. As my 20s end and our 30th birthday at the end of the month approaches, I’ve found myself thinking of you more and more. Of your near-obnoxious levels of confidence. Of your ability to withstand hangovers. Of your fearlessness when it comes to travel, romance, career plans.

But most of all, of how you have absolutely no idea of the sweet madness that’s to come over the next decade.

Let me be clear. There will be highs. There will be unbelievable lows. There will be times where you’ll have no idea where life is going to take you, as it certainly won’t look or feel the way you imagined.

Here are some things I’d like you to remember, as you enter the chaos that will be your 20s.

Don’t rush towards career success, take your time.

You will feel like there’s no time to waste when it comes to achieving your dreams – but actually, the fact that it won’t all come easy will only refine your focus and drive. So much will be out of your control – you’ll tussle with endless rival job applicants, you’ll meet crippling and unfair financial obstacles – and it will feel like the job and work that you felt you were born to do will forever be out of your reach.

When you feel like this, breathe in, and then breathe out. And believe that your hard work will pay off. It will take longer than you thought, and look differently to how you imagined. But you will get there.

In the meantime, don’t forget to enjoy yourself – and definitely don’t let an obsession with success take you too far away from the people and other parts of your life that you love.

Love your body, even – and especially – as it begins to change.

This is a difficult one. You may think that you have a fairly good relationship with your body, but this will be tested when it begins to change before your very eyes. Your late 20s will introduce you to stretch marks, grey hairs and, even worse, chin hairs. Unconditional love, respect and acceptance for your body will become more and more important for you to maintain.

You will realise that you’ve internalised WAY more patriarchal body image expectations than you thought. But don’t beat yourself up too much. Try to practice a little bit of self acceptance every day, because your body is the single best miracle you will ever behold, no matter what it may look like and BECAUSE it doesn’t look like an airbrushed supermodel’s. It looks like you.

Dear 20-year-old me: “Your late 20s will introduce you to stretch marks, grey hairs and, even worse, chin hairs. Unconditional love, respect and acceptance for your body will become more and more important for you to maintain. ”

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