Dear BW of 2003,
I could tell you a whole lot of things that might make life easier for you, but I'm not going to. Why? Because I like the person we have become, and are becoming, and the experiences you'll have over the next 10 years are part of what made me(/you) this way.
So I'll just give you a little advice. Some of these are just the you of 2013 being selfish, because she/I/you would looove for some things to be rendered instantly easier. But mostly, they're just principles that you'll do well to keep in mind.
- You are not defective. At times, you feel like there is something wrong with you and you don't know what it is. (I know my saying this won't ease your mind, but know that you will not always feel that way.)
- Go running. Don't eat junk food. I mean--you still look great in 10 years (cuter than you do now, actually), but I would love to be 20 or 30 lbs lighter right now, and you can fix that for me.
- "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." Remember that quote? Well, sometimes you won't "take the leap"--you'll be pushed off the cliff. Build some wings anyway.
- Write. It's a struggle now, and it will be a struggle in 10 years. There's never enough time, but the more you write, the better you'll get. Write daily, even if it practically kills you, or means you won't read for class. This will especially hold true in 2005-08.
- The people who love you now will still love you in 10 years, and you will still love them. In one important case, the love will change form. In other important cases, you'll go through tough times. During those times, never doubt the strength of that love.
- Buy stock in Apple, Google, and Amazon. I know it feels like you have no money, but you will have no money plus $65K in student loan debt in 10 years. Sell the shirt off your back if you have to. Invest. I'm sick of being broke.
- I know this sounds nuts, but you probably have ADD. That's why you can't concentrate. This will be an asset to you in many ways... if you learn how to work with it faster than I did.
- You can be extremely hard on yourself. Try to extend to yourself the same grace you extend to others. Maybe we'll always be working on that one.
- Your temper will magically dissipate. (Some) people will start to think of you as "laid-back." Enjoy this! It's a good thing!
- Whatever you do, trust your gut.
Since 10 is a nice, even number and we like nice, even numbers, I'll end there. I bet that aside from the stock tip, you'll find this letter frustratingly vague. Sorry, kid--you'll have to figure it all out yourself.
BW of 2013