A Letter to 21-Year-Old Lizy

A Letter to 21-Year-Old Lizy

Dear Me,
I’m writing to respond to a letter you wrote to the 40-year-old version of us. Although currently only 28, I felt it’s okay to intercept the correspondence because, you know, I’m us.

In the letter you detailed your concerns about your health in the form of repeated and unfortunate expressions of fatphobia. I’ll set aside the embarassing and undignified comments and instead address the other topics you raised.

Right now I need to finish my application to join the Peace Corps as well as finish drafting my backup plans if the Peace Corps falls through. Only you know if I finished my Peace Corps application and whether or not I was accepted into the program. Did I ever end up joining? Did I go to grad school after? Did I study International Relations, like I planned?

Yes, you finished your Peace Corps application. Yes, you were accepted and ended up serving. And yes, you eventually went to graduate school and studied International Relations. You wouldn’t believe this, but your grades skyrocketed from those in undergraduate school and you finished with a 3.58 GPA (how we’re the same person is beyond me).

I hope that you still see the supreme value of macaroni and cheese, bagels, lattes, and Shirley Temples. If your tastes have changed – I don’t suspect that they will, but they might – I hope that whatever you currently love is equal to the love you once had for the bagel/latte combination.

I was especially tickled by your reminder of our affinity for the beloved iced latte and bagel combination. I unearthed your letter from the bowels of Red Pointe Shoe’s archives only shortly after I’d finished the morning’s breakfast of that very same treat. I suppose we can expect that preference to last forever.

I’m not sure that I have a whole lot of advice for you…cause I’m only 21 and I have no idea what kind of person you are or how happy you are. I hope you’re happy. If you aren’t happy, take your dog for a walk. If you don’t have a dog, borrow someone else’s dog.

You reminded me to grab the dog and go for a walk if I was unhappy, or to find someone else’s dog and walk them if I still did not have one to call my own. You’ll be happy to know I walked both a friend’s dog and my own multiple times earlier this week.

There was also a question raised about my historical tendency to break up with people when I move across the country from them. I think you brought this up just to insist on how independent of a person you were. It’s kinda jerky, Lizy. Stop talking about your relationships so nonchalantly, please.

…wait, are you the President of the United States? That was one of my goals for myself to reach by the time I’m your age. Excuse me for not addressing you properly if you are el Presidente, but I didn’t know. Actually, I still don’t know. I suppose I won’t know for a few more decades.

You made an attempt at a joke when you asked if I was “el presidente” of the United States. I can say that I’ve moved on from that half-baked, pretend ambition. While I’ve held a series of interesting positions, I’m currently working at a restaurant, and so I don’t think I’m any closer to the presidency than I was seven years ago.

Speaking of the blog, is it still running? If you decided to maintain it, I hope you’ve become a much better writer than I am today. […] If it’s still nothing but a hobby, consider picking up something else. I dunno, get into rock climbing or something.

As you can tell, the blog is still running after all these years. I’ve also decided to take web development more seriously, and occasionally take on paid web projects.

The blog, however, has drastically changed in terms of quality of content. While I used to be a word-vomiting, over-exposing, arrogant, ignorant, self-proclaimed liberal know-it-all who fancies herself so carefree that she can talk about any intimate detail of her life, the content has now shifted to be a little more intentional and a lot less embarrassing. That is, I hope, anyway. 40-year-old us might be reading both of our letters and shaking her head at how foolish I still am.

I suppose I should be concerned about giving you too much advice, but surely the butterfly effect has already been risked if I’ve already revealed this much. So, why not? This is what you need to hear:

  • Wash your face more, and for god’s sake please get over your unfounded fear of going to a dermatologist already
  • Don’t give up any of your travel, but consider putting a small bit of money – it doesn’t matter how much – regularly aside for student loan payments
  • Follow your hunches about your healthy or unhealthy relationships. Figure out who you actually like spending time with, and spend time with them!
  • Keep on running! I’m currently training for our first marathon, and I’m extremely slow.
  • Right now, at the age of 21, you are built of muscle and ice cream sundaes. If you dial back the ice cream sundaes, you’ll have the body you’re looking for. You will never be this muscular, or this fat, ever again. At 28, I have an incredibly different body than you did, but I feel better in it.
  • Wash your face even more!
  • The joking arrogance isn’t half as charming as you think it is.

Chin up. It gets better and you have so much to look forward to. There’s a lot more shit ahead than what you’ve dealt with so far, and you’ll survive all of it. And you’ll be blown away by the good stuff. You get really good at surrounding yourself with people you love and challenging yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally to be a better person. I hope that, from here, we can keep on improving until that 40-year-old finally reads her letter.

All my love,


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One reply to “A Letter to 21-Year-Old Lizy

  1. Beth

    This is wild because I saw a post yesterday asking mothers if they ever feel grief over the life they lost by having children. And I went down a rabbit hole of all the things my life could have ended up including that I long for, but instead I got married, lived in 5 states, and birthed 3 children. Thankfully, I concluded that I might have missed out on things, but it’s all such a delicately built tower – it’s because of the marriage, states, and children that I am who I’ve become. 41-year-old me without those things might not have even wanted the things I grieve. If that makes sense it’ll be miraculous! Needless to say, yes: I grieve what I lost by making the choices I did. But that’s not to say I’d have made the choices I want now if my life hadn’t stacked up like it did!

    Keep writing, friend! I love it.

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