Dear 20 Something Brooke,
How great your 20’s really are, I hope you are enjoying it all: the wild nights out with your friends, kissing hot guys behind dumpsters, trial by error on your favorite drinks and waking up without a hangover. That last one is pure magic and it will absolutely disappear. So enjoy it while it lasts.
Up until now everything has always gone your way; mom has worked really hard to make sure of that. The right schools, the right opportunities, the most fun experiences, life has been charmed for sure. But you should know things won’t always be so charmed, they can’t be, growth doesn’t come from perfection. Growth comes from facing adversity and beating it, even if it gets a couple of good whacks at you (side note, it always does). You won’t recognize that it’s growth and character building in the process because it is going to look and feel like failure to you. When you see other classmates getting jobs right out of college and you don’t, when you have to move back home and keep interviewing and nothing is happening for you, you are going to be embarrassed, like you are getting left behind and you’re not going to know how to cope.
You are 100% going to miss the fact that you are indeed figuring it out because you are still comparing yourself to other people. You are just not mentally in a place yet where you can understand that comparison is the thief of joy. You also haven’t let go of the plan that your teenage self made. Personally I just want to shake you! Like helloooo, who lets a teenager make their life plan. OMG! But piece-by-piece you’re going to start finding your adult rhythm, not in the way you expect but in the way that you need. Retail and serving are never what you planned on doing, but they are going to bring you the release you need to let go of that feeling of failure. And FYI, retail and serving are also going to bring you life long friends, so let that simmer for a minute.
Some of those unexpected life long friends are going to be responsible for the good times that keep you laughing from one memory to the next! They will also be the same friends sitting across from you shutting down the bar with you when guys and love become too much and you just need to talk it all out – and out – and out. You’ll appreciate them in the moment but you will be grateful to them forever the day that you finally find your voice and know your worth enough to walk away from guys when you know you deserve better. And it won’t just be the unexpected friends that make an impact; it is going to be those college buddies who bring you all the way back to life. You always knew they were good friends but when they call bullshit on you for not living your best life because you’re still too afraid to fail – girrrlll, that’s when you’ll know you have best friends. And you’ll remember your conversation with them in the car that day forever, as you should, because it’s worth remembering that you are magic and you can always start over.
I wish you’d known that when you hit the road to Chicago to start living that next chapter that you are finally getting it. You are finally getting to a frame of mind where you can start to understand what your life is supposed to be about. Don’t get me wrong, you’re definitely not there yet, many meltdowns away in fact! But you are aware, and alive inside. You are going to face similar struggles job searching and finding your footing, but this time, dear brave Brookie you’ll be stronger, smiling inside, because you know you can do it, because you’ve already done it.
And after years of struggling to put the pieces together you are going to slowly start to see and feel that personal growth that you didn’t understand before. See mom always talked to you about staying in the moment, and you try, but you didn’t get it before but I think you get it now. All of those memories, and experiences, and struggles and victories, you weren’t always present for those moments. You wanted to rush through those moments and be somewhere else. But where, where else would you be, you didn’t know, how could you know. Those moments were the links that make up life, that help guide the next step, they are a part of your story and you get that now. So I’m proud of you Brookie, it wasn’t easy, it was hard af, you panicked, but you made it through your twenties. And me personally, I am excited to see where our thirties take us. I could say so far so good, but that’s another letter for another day.
Love always, Brooke
P.S. Happy Birthday!