Dear me,

One of my new favorite bloggers just inspired me to a little creative writing meets therapy project.

It sounded like fun, but like any good plagiarised idea, I thought it needed to be Stephanieized. The concept (for those too lazy to link away) is to write a letter to yourself at age 18. In honor of my upcoming 31st birthday, I thought it would be more appropriate to write a letter to myself at age 21. After all, it’s been a busy decade. Little 21-year-old Stephanie has come a long way.
We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s go…
Dear Steph,
You are 21 and beautiful, so why do you insist on dressing like a 40 year-old soccer mom? I know you went to Europe and the little silk scarves around the neck were all the rage, but that look just doesn’t translate well in the U.S. of A. Also, no one should be allowed to wear Laura Ashley clothing after 12 and before 40.
Pay attention to Shannon at school. I know you barely know her and you only really know your parents were friends, but you won’t believe how close you guys will be. She’ll even be your maid of honor in your wedding (we’ll get there). Why not get started on your friendship sooner rather than later?
Don’t date the Norwegian guy in D.C. during your internship next summer; it’s a waste of time. Just focus on your writing and have fun living in the city. Speaking of that, try to give your editing class next spring more than your usual 10 minute attention span. There are important things you need to learn such as A.P. Style. It seems lame, but it will haunt you.
Do date the intern at the first paper you work at. He’s hot and he’ll break your heart, but you are going to need that experience in your life. Just go with your heart and enjoy it.
When you are dating him, if you go to Virginia for a weekend and it happens to snow that weekend and you have to stay over on Sunday night, it would behoove you to go straight to work when you get back in town and not stop for lunch with your roommate. You guys will have plenty of fun adventures together, you don’t need to piss off your editor by being even later that day.
Anyone named Stephanie is a good egg. They make good roommates. Be forgiving when she’s too drunk to console you when the intern breaks up with you. She’ll be there in plenty of ways in years to come. You may want to remind her that tents go outside, not inside.
I know your first job will be stressful and all, but if there is any way you could not smoke, that would be really great. It would also keep you from lighting your hair on fire with a match when you are on deadline. No one likes the smell of burnt hair in the newsroom.
Speaking of smoking, if you don’t smoke, you can possibly avoid meeting your future ex-husband. But I’m not sure I want to prevent that from happening. Just know whatever happens in the end, you’re going to be okay. You guys are going to have a great time together and share lots of love. But put your foot down early about that word. You deserve better. Also, your instincts to not want children with him are right on. Birth. Control. Please.
When it comes to your career, the main thing I want to tell you is that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. But you are going to need to learn some of that on your own. Set goals and meet them.
Don’t be so snobby about the sales side of the newsroom. You aren’t any better than them just because you are a starving journalist. And the same goes for public relations people who call you. Be nice.
When you run the marathon and you start puking, just keep going. You’ll live.
Harry Potter books are actually really good.
Sephora is just a bad habit and it will suck your money.
Stay away from cowboys in bars.
The night before you go to London, don’t let Sarah bring you that last glass of wine. It ends badly for you.
Don’t ever run after you’ve eaten shell fish. You get hives.
And here is the most important thing — every day over the next decade, even when you are at rock bottom, just take one minute to be thankful. Because you have a stinking awesome life.

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