- YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE ENOUGH: Seriously, you look great but of course you do not know that. As a matter of fact, you will later regret not knowing that you were this beautiful in your 20´s.
How you look at 25 is very different than how you will look at 35. You have health right now, which will be drastically taken away from you in your 30´s. See, you are about to make some poor choices in love and career that will have you taking a wrong turn in life. This will affect both your health and your body. Enjoy being 25 at the peak of your beauty, but also start to figure out whom you are on the inside because ultimately that is what will take over. We ALL fade physically, but our essence can become brighter and more beautiful the more we work on ourselves.
Also, you do not know this right now, but YOU ARE ENOUGH. You got out of college and now you want to prove to yourself that something will come of it. Let me tell you something, success is not something you achieve as if you will get everything that you want in that next relationship or that next job. There is not anything OUT THERE that will fill the void inside of you. It will take you a long time to learn this, but in the meantime, enjoy making all of those mistakes that you are about to make because ultimately you WILL learn and you will be a new and changed person because of it.
2. THE NEXT 20 YEARS WILL BREAK YOU AND RE-BUILD YOU I feel for you. I really do. See, you are about to have health problems. Not just ¨any¨ health problems. Terrible ones. You will see more Doctors and have more surgeries and procedures than you can count. You will start to wonder what happened? Luckily, you will recover from this illness and it will break you into a new person. You will be much more appreciative of your health and your new found freedom from illness and Doctors. This new lease on life will have you smiling after it is all over.
3. YOU WILL LOVE AND LOSE MANY TIMES: Ok, you do not know this yet, but most love affairs do NOT last forever. As a matter of fact, 99% of the times they end in heartbreak because you only need to find one person that you are compatible with. Actually, you may NEVER find this person so you have to FIND YOURSELF. Ultimately, you are the ONLY one that you will DEFINITELY live with forever—so make the most of it. You will ¨fall in love¨ with your version of what you think love is at that time. You will fall into lust, obsession, infatuation, idealization, fantasy, denial, escape, desire and all of those other words that are sometimes confused for love.
4. YOU WERE NOT MEANT TO FOLLOW THE CROWD: Seriously, you are about to embark on getting a corporate job and climb the ladder. You are about to succumb yourself to lunch breaks and water cooler gossip. For a while you will think that ¨this is just the way life is¨ and you will think that there isn´t anything better out there. You are a creative and free soul. You sing, write, and offer talents that you do not believe in just yet. Realize, that this cubicle life is truly not for you. Instead of fighting your nature and swimming upstream, realize that you simply were not meant to live a ho-hum life. You can fight it, but eventually you will not be able to take it anymore.
5. ADOPT HEALTHY HABITS: Ok, now in your 20´s you are in show business which is totally going to mess with your self image. The business wants you to be thin and beautiful and they do not care how you get there. You will spend most of your 20´s not eating and then more than catching up for it in your 30´s and well into your 40´s. Everyone has something that they turn towards for comfort. Your comfort blanket is food. Who does not look for ice cream for a tough day? However, adopt healthy habits as soon as possible because the quicker you replace over indulgence with a balanced diet the better it will be for your health in the long-term. Not every meal is a special occasion and move that body in a way that you enjoy. Adopt a habit of exercising. You like to go cycling. Rediscover that. Don´t wait until your 40´s to go on bike rides.
6. IT IS OK TO TRY DIFFERENT CAREERS: The problem with being a creative person is that you do not adapt well to a regular workplace. In my life, I have been a performer, a Recording Studio Manager, an Admissions Counselor, an Advertising Salesperson, and even a Train Conductor. At the end of the day, they were not mistaken choices. Sometimes we need to take the long road to rediscover ourselves. We have to be and do everything that we are NOT to finally come to terms with everything we ARE. Each job, career choice, and decision was perfect for the person that I was at the time. Do not beat yourself up about it. We don´t always know what we are doing, but we keep pushing forward.
7. IT IS OK TO MOVE and TRAVEL: My best life experiences have happened ALL OVER THE WORLD. Sometimes people get stuck in a way of life. They are born and raised in one area and they never dare to venture out of it. Moving to other places gives you a new perspective on everything. You feel closer to the world around you and nothing breeds compassion for others more than ACTUALLY meeting those that are different than you for a meal or an experience together. Moving enriches you in ways that may not always be obvious. The money you spend moving or traveling will ALWAYS be an investment that you NEVER regret.
8. ENJOY YOUR PARENTS: One day, you will lose your father on an ordinary day. There will be no warning. He won´t even have an illness that you can predict. When this day comes, you will have wished that you had visited him more often. You will wish that you had made it to his birthday celebration or had taken the time to see him more than you were able to because of your busy schedule. Life waits for no one. Make time for your parents and give them all of the experiences they deserve. Buy them dinner, take them on trips and adventures, and give them as many hugs and kisses as possible. They will not always be there for us to go visit them.
9. TRUST YOUR TALENTS, AND YOURSELF: Many people will tell you who they think you are. Many times, these words are only meant to break you and bring you down. People will call you crazy for pursuing your dreams. Others will tell you that you do not have it in you to succeed and that I should just accept defeat. At the end of the day, when people give an opinion of your perceived limitations, it is only because they do not have the nerve to do what you are doing. They are too scared, insecure, or live in fear. Always trust in yourself and your talents to make this world a bit better because you have something to offer and freely give to the world.
10. LET GO: A lesson in love for all 20 somethings. When it comes to love, LEARN that letting go is a part of the process. Love but do not get attached. The second you get attached to someone is the moment you will think they are yours. Love me, but do not get attached to me because the second that you do, we go from enjoying each other´s company to EXPECTING it. Love me as much as you want. Let´s enjoy our time together in the present. If I am there for you in the present and you are there for me, most likely I will still be there for you in the future. However, we cannot worry about a future that is not here. Love me as much as you want and then let me go. I am not yours to keep or to own. Maybe, if we both love each other with all of the freedom in the world—we can actually share our lives together, but never pick me and corner me in a prison of love. Let me flourish and grow. Love me, but do not become attached to me because then you will create expectations that I am supposed to make YOU happy even above your own responsibility for yourself. See, love and attachment are two separate things. Love me, but don´t get attached to whatever expectation you have in your head of me. See, we are both FREE and no matter what, I will not change to adapt to that vision. So love me and let me go and I might just STAY.
***So to my 20 year old self one last thought: It is ok. It will not be easy and sometimes you will wonder if it even matters having any sense of honesty or integrity in this world. It will feel like only the shady get ahead, the unqualified get the best jobs, and the most dishonest of folks become the wealthiest. Do not lose that part of you that never ages, never stops dreaming, and always has a reason to keep smiling. Sometimes this world is a dark place, but we can shine a light that all of us have but that most have forgotten is there. Life is not always fair, kind, or even guaranteed. We are entitled to nothing, but deserving of everything. On that note, young Elaine, know that every obstacle passes and just when problems seem insurmountable, the tide changes for the better. Happiness and peace are always right around the corner. Give up surviving. Live.