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Letter to my 20 year old self


Inspired by another letter to a 20 year old self, I chose to write this before reading her notes.

Dear 20-year-old Kitt,

It's easy to become addicted to falling in love. The act of falling in love triggers a flood of brain chemicals that are quite similar to the chemicals addicts have when they satisfy their addictions. The torture of unrequited love can be just as addicting. However, as easy as falling in love is, it's just as easy to realize this person is not someone you want to be with any longer. The shine wearing off is the chemical high dropping. Given this, wait three months before having sex with him. If the shine doesn't last 12 weeks, the relationship won't either. Really, you can wait that long. Explore other options. Develop some real intimacy and see if this is someone you really like, or if it's the brain chemicals talking.

No, you won't outgrow your migraines. Yes, you'll keep going blind. Some years are bad. Some years are good. They all have migraines in them.

Learn to bend your pivot leg when you throw a forehand.

You are unconsciously incompetent in about 96% of your life. You are unconsciously competent in the other 4%. Unfortunately, that 4% has made you arrogant in the other 96% of your life. You know so little that you don't know how little you know. You make up excuse after excuse on why you weren't able to do something, that if you really wanted to apply yourself, you could have done better. Well, the truth of the matter is that you didn't, and you couldn't. You get out what you put in, and, well, quite frankly, you've been putting in crap. Stop giving excuses for why you didn't/couldn't do something. Put in the time to become someone great.

Be brutally honest with yourself. Truly, honestly brutal.

Sitting on your ass dreaming about something isn't going to get you that something. You have to EARN it. Right now, you're afraid to try. You're afraid to fail. You're afraid to make a fool of yourself. You're just plain afraid. You see yourself as a victim (this goes with the fucking excuses you keep making up). You are not a victim. You just don't see how to go from A to B with a lot of hard work. When Terry called you a troll, she was jealous that she was incapable of studying so hard. Don't let her bitchy words poorly affect your life. Go ahead and study. Work hard.

Give programming a real chance. It's a lot of fun.

Walk away from Frank. Right. Now. Remove yourself from being the common enemy, and you will be much stronger for it. When John comes knocking, don't open the door. Didn't work two years ago, won't work two years from now. For that matter, stay away from Sang, too. Wook, on the other hand, you should follow. And when you ask Andy Crews out on a date, remember it. It'll come back to bite you in a decade if you don't.

You won't get pregnant. You are incapable of becoming pregnant. Stop worrying about getting to being pregnant and enjoy the process. In doing so, however, realize that every time you sleep NEXT to someone, everyone else is going to assume you slept WITH that someone, so, sleep in your own bed.

Ayn Rand was wrong.

No one person can be everything to you. You will need different people to fill different parts of your life. You will have friends and teammates, you will have lovers. You will have acquaintances and coworkers. You will have a husband. You will have friends that mean the world to you, and friends who will crush your soul. Each of these people fill a different role. You will need each of them. Nurture the relationships that work, allow them to work together without overwhelming the other ones.

Rape is not always physical. If you feel uncomfortable or that something's not right, get out fast. This is true even if it's a relationship that you need to leave. You can replace your stuff. Take MK with you.

Wear sunscreen. You'll get skin cancer in your mid-thirties. That bump? Not a wart.

Learn to let go. In particular, learn to let go of toxic people. Even people who are amazing friends now can have events in their lives that turn their now sunny self into horrible people. When that happens, you need to know that it's not about you, and some people can't be saved. When that happens, you need to let go and walk away. Surround yourself with good people.

Along this vein, when Jessica walks out of your life, let her go.


Don't let her back in.

When you find him, you won't realize it's him. You will, however, fairly quickly know that he is an amazing person. He's a good person. A Good person. He'll make you a better person. Instead of wanting to lash out, you'll want him to understand. Instead of needing to win the argument, you'll need to understand his side. You'll love the smell of him, the sight of him, the feel of him. He'll make you laugh. He'll make you smile. He'll help you learn that adult relationships aren't about bailing at the first sign of trouble, but rather, two people who see the good in each other, working through differences to become stronger together. He won't be who you expect, but he'll be exactly who you need.

Pain is fleeting, glory is forever. Guys dig scars.

You'll live to see your 40th birthday. Given that, stop worrying so much about those pains and those aches and those weird sensations. You're particularly well attuned to your body ("overly sensitive," Mom will say), so you'll need to learn to tune out some of what your body is saying and just listen to the big stuff. The small stuff is normal.

You are stronger than you know.


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