Dear 20 year old me,
You turned 30 on Friday. You made it. How does it feel you ask? It's a roller coaster. One where one day I feel excited to be heading into what people tell me are the best years of my life and then the next day I almost want to cry knowing I'm officially leaving my youth. I wanted to write you and give a you a little advice for the next 10 years. Spoiler- Everything turns out better than you ever expected.
I know growing up was hard, but it's all in the past. You are your own woman now and your life is your own. You'll hear throughout your 20's over and over from the people who love you that despite what you went through, you turned out amazing-believe them because you did. You'll learn the quote "I love who I am because I fought to be her" and it will secretly be your life motto. You'll make a ton of mistakes some small and some big, but they really do make you who you are. Your first apartment you're about to move into is way too expensive and you learn that the hard way. You'll enjoy living by yourself though. Cherish every moment in that way out of budget apartment because in the next 10 years, you'll move 10 times! -you get pretty good at transporting your life from one place to another. After moving for 10 years, I promise you, you'll finally find where you belong.
You recently broke up with your high school sweetheart. I know it's hard and yes, you will wonder forever if you did the right thing. You did. 6 years is a long time to be with someone when you're young, but I'm proud of you for stepping out from from the security of that relationship. You'll forever be thankful for him for being with you for some of the hardest days of your life, but it's time for you to experience new things. You'll do some traveling in your 20's, but not as much as you'd probably like to do. Don't be upset by that though, the traveling will come. You'll actually date a guy in England for a brief time and as much as you'll think it's a realistic relationship, it's not, but the two of you will remain friends. You had take care of yourself since you were 18 and will throughout your 20's. Be proud that you pay your own bills. Yes, there will be times where you have to pay for gas with the pennies from your car cup holder and you will wonder many times whether you'll make it. You will.
I know everyone your age cares about turning 21 and you don't even think about it. Yeah, you'll have some crazy fun nights of drinking, but there are about 3 total. Stop thinking you aren't any fun because you would rather stay home and watch chick flicks then go out. On one rare night that you venture out, you'll meet a guy. He'll have glasses and you'll talk all night in a booth at that FAU bar. He's from Richmond, Virginia and from that moment your life will change forever. If it wasn't for that night, your world would be so different as I write this. This new chapter is one of the roughest you'll go through in your 20's. Unhealthy and unhappy relationships are something you just heard about, but then you get in one and you become what you never thought you would. You will learn so much about yourself and as hard as this unhealthy relationship was, you'll be thankful because it brought you to Virginia where you now live. Yep, palm trees have now been replaced with seasons and you will love it more than anything in the world. After everyone telling you for years to end it, you'll finally wake up one day and that will be the day you leave that unhealthy relationship. Shauna will be on the phone as you drive away and she'll remind you you're doing the right thing. You'll have so much fun being single and for the first time in a long time you will really truly love your life. But life is funny and it's true what they say about once you stop searching for something it comes your way. You'll be introduced to a guy at a charity event and you really won't pay any attention to him at first. He'll text you and you won't respond for hours. Thank goodness you give that guy a chance though because spoiler alert, this happens...
His name is Chris and he becomes everything to you and makes you realize why it didn't work out with anyone else.
He also comes with a great big family and you will feel as though God gave you them on purpose because you didn't grow up with one. You finally get the family you always dreamed of. (Told you life is better than you ever expected.)
You're best friends are still the same. And guess who ends up as your maid of honor? Yep, Adele. Just like you always imagined. You still talk to Jost and Shauna more than any other local friend. That girl all the way one left- She's amazing and teaches you a lot about not taking things for granted. The girl all the way on the right is Chris' cousin and she is the greatest friend. She'll tell you how it is and be there for you when all you want to do is vent. Yep, these girls are amazing.
Life is pretty amazing. You don't change much. You still love pizza and hate tomatoes. You still watch Grey's Anatomy (they just killed McDreamy so get ready for that one) You still love the beach though now your favorite one is in North Carolina and it doesn't have one palm tree. And guess what? You own your own business. Crazy right? You fell in love with flowers through wedding planning and now you do wedding floral design. You love it more than anything and the feeling of having something that's all yours is the best feeling.
You also somehow convinced Chris to get two dogs and you have this perfect little family. I'm not saying life is perfect and there isn't rough days. There are. You just have a wonderful support system now and your experiences have better prepared you for the road ahead.
So don't worry 20 year old me. I know it's tough right now and you're trying to find your way. You will. Take your time and enjoy the next 10 years. They go by fast. Almost too fast.
30 year old Michelle