We turned 35 a few weeks ago, and it’s amazing how far we’ve come. I have so much I want to tell you, and so much advice I need to share. There are hard days ahead for you, but sweet moments, too, and so much joy that you will share with the world. People will be difficult to handle some days, and you’ll be teased for so many things that you love or enjoy. That doesn’t matter. Their opinions don’t matter. The people who do matter the most to you will lift you up and support your dreams, no matter what. Believe in yourself. Cherish those friendships and build a community that focuses on joy and helping each other succeed.
Believe in yourself
This is something I work on every day, even now. It’ll be something I work on for the rest of our lives. It’s so easy to give in to self-doubt and to struggle with seeing your own worth. You will become so used to your own personality and capabilities that you won’t see how wonderful you are. Listen to the people who care about you. Let them show you what they see. Remember that the people who doubt or belittle you don’t have your best interests at heart. They don’t see you for who you are. Don’t change yourself for someone else. Every day, try to be the best version of yourself that you can be.
Never give up on your dream of writing
So many people will tell you that you’ll never be successful as a writer. That you don’t have what it takes. They’ll say that you can’t get published without knowing someone at a big publishing house. Those people are wrong. Keep writing, even if you don’t share what you write for years. Follow that dream. One day, you’ll go to graduate school and get your Master’s degree in English and Creative Writing. You’ll join Twitter because it’s a class requirement, but you’ll make friends there that will support your dream. Two of them will become sisters to you, and you’ll join forces to create something far more magical than you could ever have dreamed. You’ll work together to publish an anthology of stories. Then you’ll work together on more, all while polishing your own novel. Never. Give. Up.
Love will find you when you least expect it
There will be hard years ahead of you. You’ll marry early, but it won’t be a mistake. Even after that marriage fails, you’ll be grateful. For the two beautiful children you made with him, and for the lessons he taught you about yourself. You’ll know what you want in life, and you’ll know exactly what you don’t want. And one day, love will find you again. It’ll start off slow, with friendship and laughter first. You’ll say yes to going to dinner, and you’ll have the world’s most awkward first kiss when he misses your mouth. But you’ll believe in yourself and give him another chance. Eight months later, you’ll have moved in together, adding him to your family and enjoying watching him grow as a step-dad. He’ll surprise you one night and get down on one knee with your favorite flavor of Ring Pop, and you’ll say yes without any hesitation.
Be the best mom you can be
Support your kids in their dreams, even if they seem silly. When your daughter decides to dance, you’ll find the best studio and make friends with some of the amazing teachers and parents there. When she starts pointe, you’ll cry at her first shoe fitting. Take them on hikes, go apple picking, get lost in a corn maze, and go to the pumpkin patch. Pick out a real Christmas tree for the first time in their lives for your first Christmas in your new home. You’ll go to robotics competitions, dance competitions, choir and band concerts, and countless elementary and middle school dances as a chaperone. But they’ll never forget those memories, and you’ll be proud to look back on them and remember the joy they experienced in their childhoods.
Be the good you want to see in the world
There will be so many times that the world’s sadness will seem too heavy to bear. Always look for the good in things, even though it can be hard to see. Choose to be kind. Stand up for those who are less fortunate than yourself. Learn to recognize your biases and overcome them. Tell your friends you love them, they deserve to hear it, too. Be there for the people in your life, even the ones you don’t know very well. Don’t be afraid to be a shoulder to cry on. Compliment a stranger at Starbucks. Every action you take will create a ripple that impacts so many others.
Believe in yourself. Become the person you want to be. Share your authentic self with the world and don’t put stock in the opinions of others. Go against the grain, be unique, and be strong. Life will be hard, and there will be bad days. Never forget that tomorrow is a new day, and every day will be different. When you want to give up, when things feel like they’ll never be good again, put on “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. Listen to the lyrics. Really listen to them. Everything is going to be alright.