Two weeks ago, Pinkie Pattie Lee wrote a beautiful letter to her younger self that inspired many of us to do the same. Kim Wenci wrote notes to each of her younger selves, from infancy to age 56, and today Leslee shares a letter to her 18-year-old self, just starting college... Enjoy these powerful reflections, and many thanks to Pattie for inspiring all of us!
You are embarking on a huge journey right now. You have so many opportunities opening up before you, try not to waste them.
For starters, don't drink so much.
I know you think it makes you fun, but it's not fun when you do things you regret later and barely make it to your classes. It will also not be fun in 15 years when there are so many "blanks" in your college memories. Eventually you will learn that fun, drunk Leslee is good at making friends for a moment, but none of those relationships will last. What matters is the friends that are there all the time, even when you're too quiet or grumpy or unmotivated or whatever else...
This year is the start of one of the best friendships of your life. Don't let the joy of that get clouded by the drama you create. Focus on the positives and don't let the petty things get the best of you. So what if Amy's boyfriend is always around, there will be a day when you'd give an awful lot to go back in time to have another minute with her no matter who else is there.
You can't force anyone to fall in love with you. These things have to happen naturally. There is no amount of weight you can lose, beer you can drink, short skirts you can wear, or...well I don't need to say the rest...that will make anyone like you more. In fact, all of that stuff will probably make them like you less because that is not who you are. You are going to get used and you are going to get hurt, and you are responsible for all of it. It doesn't really matter what you do or don't do over the next few years, but you have to have some self-respect.
Own who you are and what you enjoy. If you make a choice in the moment because it is what you want, then accept it. Don't wallow in guilt or regret because it doesn't end up the way you imagined. You're going to get stuck in the cycle for a while, but eventually you'll get it and let go. There is someone perfect out there for you and you'd be so much happier if you just loosened your grip on the wheel.
You have just entered college and there is so much there for you to learn. Please put more of your attention on academics. You are a really smart girl, despite what you think of yourself. You can do anything. Don't give up so easily when faced with challenges.
You'd be surprised to know that you will get married at 23 and move far away from home. You and Mark will have 5 years together before the girls come along...take advantage of that time and do some traveling. Don't forget to call your friends. Life is much shorter than you think and one day you'll wish you'd checked in more often with them...
The most important advice I can give you, though, is to let go of regrets and expectations and just enjoy the moment. You will never again be able to be this carefree and spontaneous, don't waste it by wallowing. You're going to be OK... you're going to be better than OK!
I'll end this with some advice I read somewhere, "Love without remorse" -- and this includes yourself!
35 year-old Leslee
Love and Light,
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