Dear Younger Self:

I wish I knew these things when I was your age.

Remember when you thought 40 was so old? Good news, you’re not ready for the Smithsonian yet. Helpful hint: you are going to need a magnifying mirror to do your makeup at 40 otherwise you will end up leaving the house looking like a clown.

Remember when we thought when we were 40 we would have life all figured out? Well we were wrong. Life is a series of lessons that will mold you into a better person. Growing up there will be fear and anxiety, a lot of it. There will also be massive amounts of joy and triumph. Stop wasting time worrying about fitting in. Stop spending so much money on hair spray. For the love of creatures please stop with the Aqua Net. Once you toss that gigantic can of Aqua Net you will realize it’s true you CAN dance in the rain and not have sticky gross hair. Please don’t waste anymore time worrying if you’re too fat or too skinny. You are perfect just the way you are. An intelligent, confident female is beautiful regardless of her appearance and size.

Eventually you will be able to have a phone with you all the time and you will have this device called a smart phone. That’s right, the phone will no longer be attached to the wall and you won’t need to have a really long cord on your telephone. Even better, you will no longer have to hide in the pantry when talking to your friends on the phone. I know it’s weird. On your smart phone you will have all sorts of technology. Please use it wisely. This thing called social media will happen and it will blow your mind. You have an even weirder thing called a “status” and people will know where you are and what you are thinking depending on what you type in the status bar. You can even post photos of yourself or your food. Brace yourself, people will begin posting photos of everything they are about to eat. But it won’t be McDonald’s because society becomes very health conscious. Eat all the bread you can now because when you get older the entire world will tell you that carbs are bad. Relax, we aren’t going to stop eating pasta.

There’s also this thing called a “selfie.” You can take a selfie with your phone. That’s right. The smartphone you will take every place will even have a camera. So throw away your pink Le Clic camera and get with the times! Young people post selfies all the time. Sometimes they even do it while getting dressed in the bathroom and forget to close the top of the toilet or the shower curtain. Gross, I know. Sometimes they get a little too revealing. Please do this responsibly. The internet never forgets. Someday you will go job hunting and you don’t want a potential employer to not hire you because of endless bathroom selfies. I could go on and on about the internet, but I will tell you to use your words wisely when posting. Always be mindful when speaking to others.

Your life is an incredible blessing and a journey. One which you will fall in love with when you realize God is in control and you finally stop to smell the roses and enjoy the ride.

Below are some of the lessons learned along the way:

  • You are not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay.
  • Your sense of humor is what keeps you strong during the tough times.
  • You don’t always have to have the last word; sometimes silence is the best response to quiet a fool.
  • Every relationship has a purpose that helps us grow and become stronger. The most challenging relationships teach us about forgiveness and patience.
  • As long as you have Mom and Dad you will always have a place to call home.
  • No relationship is worth your self respect.
  • Mom and Dad will not be here forever. Cherish them.
  • You can actually hold Mom’s hand in public without people thinking you’re her girlfriend.
  • Mom will be your best friend when you grow up and you will want to be just like her.
  • Dad remains your real life super hero, even when he is no longer alive.
  • You do not know everything. Listen. Be alert. People want to teach you things, they want you to evolve into a successful adult. No one likes a know it all.
  • Accept yourself as God made you. Stop trying to be what you’re not, be true to yourself because God does not make mistakes.
  • Try not to take things personally; what people say about you is a reflection of their own insecurities.
  • If you don’t completely love the person you see in the mirror, you will never truly be happy or successful.
  • Love yourself, be proud of who you are.

Growing up you will experience a mix of emotions. They will be confusing. You will experience pain and sorrow. You will also experience unconditional love and support. You will be betrayed and your heart will be broken. You will also experience times when you are so sad you can’t lift your head off the pillow. Times when you are certain that the sounds of your breaking heart are deafening to others. I’m not going to lie, those times are really going to hurt, but there will be countless moments of joy and gratification that make your entire world light up. It is important to trust your journey. You have a magnificent life ahead of you. The road will not always be easy but I can promise you it will be an incredible journey with so many exquisite blessings along the way. When life gets tough, always remember you are a beautiful diamond that shines bright in a world where people have as many preferences as they have types of precious gemstones. Never forget that.


Your older, wiser self

Lisa Ingrassia

Lisa is the Director of Events at Zenith Marketing Group, an insurance brokerage firm located in Freehold, NJ. She is passionate about sharing her father’s journey with cancer and bringing attention the difficult path a caregiver must walk. She has written guest articles for the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, The Mighty & Her View From Home. She is also a guest blogger for The Huffington Post. Fun fact: She’s obsessed with her Boston terrier Diesel and loves the color blue.