What Would You Say To Your 20-Year-Old Self?

Karen Walrond i i
Karen Walrond
Karen Walrond
Karen Walrond

"You are just so serious, so caught up in yourself, aren't you? You mean so well, and you've got a good heart. I'm resisting the urge to tell you to lighten up, to stop taking yourself so seriously ... because the truth is, your journey to realizing all these things is a pretty great one." — Karen Walrond to her 20-year-old self

Say you're in your 30s or 40s and you could write a letter to your 20-year-old self. What would you say?

That's the request Cassie Boorn, a 22-year-old college student and single mom in Davenport, Iowa, made on her blog. She needed advice, so she asked some of her older fellow bloggers to write letters to their younger selves.

Women like Sarah Brown wrote in with this piece of advice: "First of all, let's get this out of the way: no, you are not crazy. Yes, you should probably talk to someone. There's no shame in that. You should also go outside more."

And Jessica Gottlieb wrote: "You're going to meet a really nice guy who is going to take you helicopter skiing, and send you mountains of flowers. He is bad news. Trust your instincts."

What would YOU say to your 20-year-old self? Share in the comments below.

Boorn says she decided to do this post because as a blogger she has traveled to a lot of conferences and met "a lot of really great women." She would pick their brains for advice — and she wanted to give other people her age access to advice. She says a lot of the responses are "very honest."

And she's learned some valuable things from those who have written in.

"I have learned to appreciate myself more — both my body and the kind of person that I am," she tells NPR's Michele Norris. "I've learned to take myself less seriously, not worry about where I'm going and what I'm going to accomplish — and focusing on the fact that ... you have to enjoy this time because it's only here so long.

Maggie Mason i i
Bryan Mason
Maggie Mason
Bryan Mason

"Thank you for working so hard to put yourself through school. Thank you for eating potato chips for breakfast while you still can. Thank you for wearing the tight dress. And shut up — your ass looks amazing." — Maggie Mason to her 20-year-old self

"I've learned a lot about how quickly things change, and just realizing that where you are right now it's not going to be there forever. That was the biggest lesson. It's so easy to get caught up in what's happening today and what's happening this week. In five years you're probably not going to remember today, or this week, so just do the best you can and enjoy the moments that you have."

Boorn says the letters weren't only for her — she says the people who offered the advice said the process was very therapeutic. And she sees a desire for women to support each other.

"I was almost like a closure — 'I know you made mistakes, I know your 20s were hard, but things are good now and I'm going to let these things go,' " she says.

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