Letter to 20-year-old me


June 15, 2010 by 8junebugs

Idea courtesy of Cassie Boorn, via Maggie Mason (who, let’s be honest, is behind many of the good ideas that filter into my brain and/or blog).

Dear Jen:
Keep up the good work! What you’ve done and what you will do next take a hell of a lot of courage, and you won’t know until later how much. It will, in the end, make up for some of the random shit you’re doing right now.

Also, thank you for wearing sunscreen during all those weekends in Aptos. Seriously.

And hey! You’ll finish that degree. It doesn’t seem like it today, and you won’t know how for a year or so, but it’s true. You will finish it. Later, you’ll get another one, and not having to pay for that one will totally diminish any lingering regret you have about mortgaging your future to pay for the first one.

Meanwhile, I know you think you’re setting yourself up to fail. You still think J was trying to get you to be something you’re not by encouraging you to temp in offices. That may have been true — you guys do want different things — but he was just trying to help based on his experience. You’re worried that you’re going to get stuck in an office job and never finish school, but the truth is that you’re going to come out of temping with three invaluable things:

  1. More useful experience than most in your graduating class (and consequently, a better resume)
  2. A genuine professional confidence
  3. Friends and experiences you will appreciate for the rest of your life

So give J a break about the temping — he’s right, in the long run. Give yourself a break, too. When you leave California, your employer will try really, really hard to keep you in the company, and that’s worth something.

J’s also right about you and Graham (smart guy, no?), but don’t worry about that right now. I don’t want to spoil the ending and there are some things you need to learn in the meantime.

Speaking of the meantime, if it’s not too much trouble, try to spend a little more time in San Francisco, and do some exploring outside your usual haunts, would you? You’re living in the most wondrous place right now — as you drive east over the Sierras in a couple of years, you’ll wish you’d seen more of it. You’re 20, you’re mobile, and you have very little responsibility — what better time to explore?

Just a couple other things: Listen to your instincts, don’t be afraid of not knowing something, and write Memere a letter (she’ll be thrilled).

See you soon…


P.S. That guy? The one who called you a piranha? Yeah, that was your first real lesson on “Insecure Guys Who Are Not Comfortable with Smart Women Challenging Them.” You handled yourself well, but do try to remember that lesson.


2 thoughts on “Letter to 20-year-old me

  1. statia says:

    Oh man, if I could write a letter to my 20 year old self… I mean, I could, but, really, if I could sit down and have a chat with her. First I’d punch her in the face for all those years of tanning. And then she’d probably hate me and think “know it all, bitch.” Because I know, my 20 year old self wouldn’t be like, “well, she’s older, so she has to be wiser.”

    So I’m guessing she probably wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, anyway.

    • 8junebugs says:

      I actually like Maggie’s take on it, which is more of a thank-you note. I’d hate to be too hard on 20-year-old me–she was figuring a lot out with ZERO guidance, and…well, I’m here, so she did something right. 😉

      Oh, tanning… I never got into it–all my money went to marching band trips. But now, in my head, tanning’s kind of like smoking. Like I can’t believe people still do it, you know? It costs money and causes cancer–we know this. So…really?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: