Less than a month ago in late July, I turned 31 years old. Thirty-one itself is not a particularly special number. Nothing noteworthy happens at 31, but each year that I complete feels like a milestone in itself, an accomplishment, a small victory. It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t even imagine myself at this age. Frankly, at the crazy and self-destructive rate I was going in my younger days, I had my sincere doubts that I would even make it this far.
But here I am.
Looking back at where I came from is difficult. When I think about how naïve I was, how much of a victim I used to be, the unwise decisions I made, and the people who I inadvertently hurt for whatever reason, I feel humbled and sheepish. But then again, I suppose that if we were all going to be judged on what we did in our teens and early twenties, most of us would never leave the house.
While I wish I could change my past, I know that that’s not a possibility. Maybe it’s for the best, maybe it was my dharma to do the things that I did and experience the things that I experienced to make me the person I am today. It’s better than being full of regrets.
There are still a great deal of life lessons that I wish I had known when I was younger. If I were able to impart some wisdom onto my former younger self, it would probably go something like this:
Dear younger Violet,
This is your future writing to you. At this point, you’re young and still naïve, as much as you don’t believe it. I’m writing to let you know that you are in for a real trip in your 20s. I’m not going to lie- You are going to experience broken hearts, confusion, and cruel, toxic people. You are also going to experience joblessness, loneliness, and madness. My point is not to scare or depress you about what the future brings, but rather, let you know that in the end, YOU WILL OVERCOME IT.
It’s not going to be an easy road. There will be many false starts, many detours, many times when you feel utterly lost. Remember that in the end, it will ultimately lead you to where you are supposed to be. Even if it doesn’t make any sense right now, THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON, EVEN IF IT DOESN’T ALWAYS SEEM THAT WAY AT THE TIME.
You are going to be riddled with self-doubt. Don’t bother looking to others for some sort of benchmark or reference point. It’s a waste of time. The only person’s approval that you need is your own. Only you can validate what you do and who you are. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS.
A distorted physical self-image will prove to be one of the fiercest, ruthless demons that you will face. Don’t desecrate and depreciate the temple that is your body. Being healthy is fundamental, but there is more to who you are and your self-worth than a number on the scale or the circumference of your waistline. Physical beauty is fickle and comes and goes with time; just know that YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL PERSON.
Far too often, you permit other people to use you, abuse you, take advantage of you, demean you, walk all over you, and hurt you. It’s clear that you care too much about what other people think of you and how they perceive you, to an unhealthy extent. Being considerate of other people’s feelings and diplomatic is one thing, being a doormat is quite another. Non illegitimi carborundum (“don’t let the bastards grind you down”). Don’t be afraid to STAND UP FOR YOURSELF more frequently and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
I’m not going to bombard you with too many unnecessary details and excessive mantras. Things will fall into place and the greater picture reveals itself with time. Just know that, above all, you are a kind, decent person and furthermore, you are a worthy person. Life is too short not to be happy with what and who you are. Remember never to forget this.