Lately I've thought a lot about what I would say to my younger self. There's an entire book on the subject - women who have written letters to themselves at younger ages. It's had me thinking.
I realized recently that I have finally reached a point - now nearly 2 years post-divorce where I look back and see good intermixed with the bad. For some amount of time, the vast majority of my memories of my dating/marriage life were focused (incredibly so) on all of the bad stuff. Those times when we fought, or times where I felt abandoned or unhappy. In the past few months I've started to remember the good things too. It's taken awhile. And it's a welcome moment for me. It's been awhile.
There are so many things I know now that I wish my younger self would've known. I think about how much easier life could have been. So I've started to work on my own letter written to my 23 year old self.
You are so young. Slow down. Stop wishing the years away. Life is wonderful and full and so are you. You are complete on your own. Stop looking for a man, a job, a degree, whatever... that's going to fix you or complete you. There's no such thing.
Continue to love the man you've chosen to spend your life with. Don't take him for granted. Trust him, love him...do the things that are your instinct to do. But don't expect him to always be who you want. He has his own history. His story. The only way you can love him better is to recognize your own story - Her story. You have your own complicated and rich story. Don't deny it. While some of it is painful, it is yours. And you have done such a great job in surviving the bad and enjoying the good. Still, the time has come to face up to the rough stuff. Trying to push it down with food or addictive behaviors isn't going to make it go away.
Most of all, please know that those things that happened that have made life hard weren't your fault. You were a child. You never chose that. It was a decision made by someone else. You are brave. And you have survived unthinkable things. You must believe that God has been with you. That She never wanted these things for you. Still, She is with you. Hoping for your healing, knowing it will come in the time it takes to heal - which sometimes seems a long, long while.
Life is going to take twists and turns. Some of them are going to be beyond your wildest dreams - and you will get to experience things, people and love that you never imagined. Some of it will be hard and not make sense. Try not to make decisions based upon your fears. Keep the faith. The faith that sustained you through some rough years remains, and it is what makes you who you are.
Enjoy every moment. Laugh. Out loud. And love. Out loud. In your finest moments, that is who you are.