As it is the day of the series finale of How I Met Your Mother, I wanted to contribute a small piece of my own to the giant pile of articles and lists that have been filling the internet in the past few weeks.
Dear Past Danica,
I write this for you in 2005. You are 20. You have no idea how young that is and have so much to learn. I know that probably seems cliche, but it’s true. Nobody knows anything at 20, but that’s what life experience is for. You will be meeting a man soon, and you think this will be your future husband. You’d be wrong, but it’s okay. For who you are now, he is perfect(maybe a little too perfect). Unfortunately, you will only see the cracks in the foundation well into the relationship. The end of the relationship will hurt. It will hurt a lot, and nearly break you, but you need this pain to be stronger. You need this to figure out what kind of man you would rather be with. A man who supports you and challenges you. A man who doesn’t confine himself to romantic television tropes. Let me assure you, you will meet this man, this “perfect-for-you” man, but that will come much later. So much later you can’t imagine why the fates didn’t put you together earlier. And you’ll wish you had those extra 45 days.
You are still lost in your search for a career. I won’t lie, this does not change in nine years. But you will know more about yourself and what you want out of a job, even if I am currently not in the end position where I imagine I will be “happy”. It’s okay. More and more, you will realize that it is all about the journey, and you’ve got a long road ahead of you still. Be thankful for it. Some people don’t get a lot of the opportunities you are currently taking for granted. Looking back, I see I had to make what I thought were mistakes to get me to this current place. I had to “screw up”. But I didn’t. I did what was right for me at the time. It seems hard now, but one day you’ll learn to live without regrets(or at least, a minimal amount).
Some words of note:
Don’t worry about what other people think as much as you do. Everyone is so involved in their own lives, they’re really not paying much attention to you. Trust me, this is a good thing.
There will be hard times ahead. You will lose so much, and fall much farther then you ever thought you could. But, you will get back up afterwards and be stronger for it. All those annoyances(for that is what they are) won’t last, but they will if you hold on to them.
Call your parents. Tell them you appreciate them as often as you can. Every year, you will realize that is one less that they will be around.
Cherish your friends. They will be the ones to stick with you when the bad stuff happens. But remember it’s okay to let friends go too, if they are not contributing positivity to your life.
Know that you are surrounded by people that love you, even in your darkest hours and loneliest moments. That may be the hardest thing to remember, but it’s true.
Your 20s are going to be amazing, Past Danica. Oh, and there’s a new sitcom premiering in September of this year. I really recommend you check it out. It’ll make you laugh, cry, dance, sing, and want your 20s to be legend–wait for it….