Letters to my 20-year-old self: Part 1

Behind every great woman, there is a group chat hyping her up and holding her down.
Bringing you Gems from the group chat“If you can go out with your grandmom for New Year’s Eve, we have nothing to talk about.”

I talk to myself all the time, judge me if you want to (shrugs shoulders). It helps me to process the things that are going on in my head when I hear them out loud. There are days when I am coaching myself on a problem that needs to be solved or giving myself encouragement after my confidence has been shaken, on those days I talk to myself A LOT. I do it because it works for me but, there was a time that I did everything I could to hide it. When I think about how much time I spent trying to conform to what I thought was “normal” I am annoyed about the time and energy I wasted. If I knew then what I know now I have to believe that my 20’s would have gone smoother.  

Dear Leah,

When you compliment each other you don’t have to match. Photo credit @afropunk
  1. Embrace your inner “weirdo.” Don’t cave to the pressure of trying to be like other women. It’s a trap! You were set apart for a purpose so own it. Individuality is never out of style, you have something special. Feed your gifts of leading and investing in people. Soon enough people will come to appreciate your authenticity. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. When you find your tribe you will know it. Your styles will compliment each other, you will never feel the need to apologize for being yourself.
  2. Temple University is where you are meant to be even though you don’t know it right now. You will sustain relationships from your past and make some undeniable connections during your time here. Have fun now while life is simple and the expectations of you are few. Laugh until you cry every time you get a chance and never quit because something gets too hard or other people don’t get it. Some of those people will stay with you as your journey unfolds turning into bricks that your foundation is built upon while sadly some of them will leave your life for reasons you don’t understand now. The vacancy they create will make room as God sends you exactly who you need and who needs you at every stage of your life. When they leave cry a little but wish them well, thank them for what you have learned and know that you have made an impact on their life by being who you are. Know a tiny piece of you will stay with them always.
  3. Love is a beautiful, complicated and messy thing. Enjoy it now.  It will teach you many lessons about what feels right and what you will learn is not for you. Love as you know it today will be dwarfed by the love that will come to you after you have first fallen in love with yourself. When you are almost ready but still have work to do, the universe will show you what you deserve. It will not come from a checklist or be a fairy tale, but it will change you in ways you didn’t know were possible.
  4. Your choices today will not define you, but they will show people your character. You will fail. You will love people who do not deserve your love and you will lose things that you don’t know enough about today to appreciate their value. When this happens give yourself some grace. Jealousy is a useless emotion that only takes from you while you know you should be spending that time doing something good for yourself or others.  Forgive quickly because forgiveness is the prerequisite for peace. Be gentle with your own feelings and teach others to do the same. Don’t be afraid to apologize, empathy does not equate to weakness. If you do this, when life leaves you battered and bruised, your character will be unblemished, and God’s favor will protect you.
  5. Listen to your elders. Age alone does not define wisdom but there is wisdom that comes with living. If you can borrow some wisdom until yours grows in, you will avoid some things that will waste your precious time. This counsel will ring in your ears when you are putting your greatness at risk or you are tempted to take an easier path. Success cannot be defined by title or position, there are lessons in every experience if you remain open and self-aware.

Can you relate to the 20-year-old me? What advice do you have for your younger self?

Heeeeeyy 20 something Leah!

Maybe none of you reading had any of these challenges personally but maybe you know a 20 something who has potential and you want to help them get out of their own way. Share this blog with them and point them in my direction. I can help anyone apply these gems to their unique journey. DM me @_GemsfortheJourney_ on Instagram or Email me at gemsforthejourney@gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Letters to my 20-year-old self: Part 1

  1. Yes, yes, yes! 20 year old self, every door that closes is creating the right opportunities. I would tell my younger self to more willingly let go of the people and things that are trying to leave my life. Doing so allows room for the most amazing opportunities to come.

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    1. Yes!

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    2. Thanks for your comment Tashia. Making room for the new is painful yet necessary and it something we all have to practice our entire lives. Do you know a 20-something that could benefit from reading this blog?

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    3. Thanks for your comment Tashia. Making space for the new can be painful but always pays off when we want to grow. We must practice letting go our entire lives. Do you know a 20-something that could benefit from this blog? If so please share it with them.

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  2. Thank you for this, Leah! My 20-something self appreciates this post, and my 35yo is tickled by what used to be my life. I am heartened by the fact that I have grown, fell in love with myself and my peculiarities that make me stand out in a crowd, determined what love looks like for me, become a mother, listened to my elders, and let go of those I used to hold near and dear. All of these things are the pieces of me! The growth I’ve made has sustained and humbled me, and gives me insight now as I hope to inspire 20 somethings still on their own journeys.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Nicole. I hope you are still learning to give yourself grace for mistakes made present and future, I know I am. Is there anyone you know who could benefit from this blog? If so please don’t hesitate to share.

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  3. This quote is what I was acting like I knew but didn’t really know (more so at 19 though) “When you are almost ready but still have work to do, the universe will show you what you deserve. It will not come from a checklist or be a fairy tale, but it will change you in ways you didn’t know were possible.”

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