Letter to my 21 year old self


Dear 21 year old Heidi:

How I wish that I could tell you things to prevent the many mistakes that you will make over the next decade.  Alas!

I can’t change the past BUT I can write a letter and hope that it will fall upon the eyes of other 21 year old women.

1. Do not naively believe that people are going to behave the way you would behave.

While I assess the REALITY of a situation, search my heart, and make the best choice that I deem appropriate for all parties involved, others are whatever they are. It’s hard to say what is going on, but remember that around 10% of the population has a mental illness and prisons exist for a reason.  People have deluded thinking, drug and other addictions, frequently lie, and can simply lack compassion.

SOLUTION: Continue to act with love in your heart but protect yourself emotionally and financially.

How to Protect Yourself Emotionally and Financially:

A. Do not loan money…especially to friends.  Ever.  Unless you are 100% willing to lose the friendship and the money, don’t do it.  If you loan money to anyone, begin with the assumption that you are giving them the money, otherwise you are setting yourself up for drama.
B. Never enter into a business deal with ANYONE unless you have thought out your own financial vulnerability and taken appropriate action ahead of time, (and yes, by “business deal,” I do even mean the act of getting married).  By “appropriate action” I mean that you consult with experts (and more than one) about the “worst case scenarios” for this business deal and make sure that you are protected legally and financially.  Bad things can still happen, but at least you will have done what you could to protect yourself.
C. Emotional protection: be clear about when you want to be sexual and when you do not want to be sexual.  People will lie about having STDs, (some will be so focused on wanting to have sex that they will say whatever you want to hear).  Just to be safe, never have unprotected sex unless you exchange up-to-date full STD panels AND you trust that your partner is not cheating behind your back. (HIV/Aids can be dormant for up to 6 months even if they have a clear current STD panel.)  Remember the only truly safe sex is masturbation or phone sex….and these are possible tools for self-empowerment and providing yourself safe self-pleasure (and self-care).
D.  If you are online dating, NEVER give your real name.  Create a fake name and skype with the person first.  You can tell a LOT by talking face-to-face with someone through the computer screen.  Why waste an entire evening when you could have skyped for free for 15 minutes to get a feel for who the person is?  Once they pass the skype test, go back to emailing back and forth or phone conversation…however you want to do the “get to know” process, but SCREEN, SCREEN, SCREEN, your life and your time are PRECIOUS.

***Update: if you have data on your cell phone, you can download “kik” which is an ap which allows you to text.  Create a fake username on it and use an alternate email address and communicate to someone that you are thinking of dating using this.

2. Do not let the “good girl mentality” stop you from making mistakes and consulting with experts.

The “good girl mentality” is the part of a woman that seeks to be perfect, then when she fails, she beats herself up about it in her head.  Because she has beaten herself up about it so bad inside her own head, she is exhausted.  She doesn’t want to ask others after having the taste and feeling of failure weighing on her heart.  A true warrior goddess PUSHES PAST this “wanting to give up” feeling and ASKS for HELP FROM EXPERTS.  She then takes this advice and applies it.

3.  Avoid Catastrophizing: Gather the facts and then make a reasoned choice.

You will still encounter problems, for sure, but be comfortable in your heart knowing that you did the best you could. A LOT of my mistakes were about taking action before I asked experts for help.  ASK for ADVICE then walk away and sit on the advice.  YOU are the one who will have to choose in the end, but don’t make a choice until you have ALL the information that you need.  Remember that worry is like a rocking chair, it will move you a lot but it won’t get you anywhere.

4.  Guess what ladies?  Money matters and it matters a lot. 

Thinking about being a teacher or a social worker?  The more you are trained to be a typical woman with people-pleasing tendencies and “people skills” the more likely you are going to end up making 1/10 what people who work in business and finances make.  Hey, I’m in the social work field, so I made my choice, but don’t just say, “money doesn’t matter,” because it does.  Do you want to have kids one day?  How are you going to support them on your income alone?

5.  Do not depend on anyone.

Some people might say this is the cruelest piece of advice, but I don’t think they understand what I am saying.

I am NOT saying to never love again or something absurd.  I am saying to not trust what people tell you.  To NOT get comfortable being dependent on others.  Break through your own limitations and become a better person.  When you have the experience of being able to depend on someone, you will VALUE it like shiny shiny gold.  At the same time, if you follow my #5 advice, you will “carpe diem” and try new things, travel to new places, meet new people, and expand your understanding and experience of reality.

Whatever you believe to be true about reality, THERE IS ALWAYS MORE.  Scientists only know 3% of all the space that exists.

6.  Make your own fun!

(Words directly from the lyrics of this song at one minute 55 seconds)

Photo credit to HA! Designs – Artbyheather

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