e & p, circa 2007ish. p was 24. e was 22. life was good.
I was asked by my friend Sarah of Yes and Yes (listen to us chat in a podcast episiode about blogging here!) to share some wisdom with my 22-year-old self. Her fun idea for Notes To My Younger Self is helping spread the word about The Post College Survival Kit.
Sarah wondered, what would I tell just-out-of-college Elise? What do I think she needed to know? I went back through the blog archives to do some research and what she really needed was a filter. No, just kidding. But 22-year-old Elise was pretty easily excited. She had stars in her eyes and a bounce in her step. She was pretty thrilled to just be in it and felt ready to roll though she didn't know where she was rolling. It's pretty easy to look back through those posts and feel homesick a bit. I am happy to be here right now, but man, was life fun back when the photos were blurry and the only thing coming through your phone were texts (and on rare occasions, actual calls).
Anyway, younger self, here are some thoughts.
Embrace the free time. YOU HAVE SO MUCH FREE TIME. It doesn't feel like it right now because you're coming off a college schedule and about to start a 40 hour a week job with a two hour round-trip commute but do you understand that that still leaves 118 hours that belong entirely to you? This is absurd. You are so blessed with time. So much time. Do you want to watch all ten seasons of Friends back to back? Please do. Do you want to go on a roadtrip where 18 hours are spent in the car and just 12 hours are spent in the actual location? Please do. Do you want to find and make the most elaborate recipe in the world with 45 steps and 18 bowls to clean? Please do. Do you want to organize a linen closet? Oh, you don't have a linen closet? Okay then. But embrace it. Swim in it. Enjoy every second of this free time, you lucky 22-year-old, you.
Eat real food. For serious. Throw out that bowl of will-never-get-mixed-properly-anyway-sugar-free banana pudding the fridge. What the hell are you doing? Stop eating chemicals. Clear your cupboards of Splenda and 100 calorie packs and low-cal and low-fat and sugar-free. Buy some vegetables. Eat stuff that comes from the ground, not the factory. In the future you will eat real food. You will never be hungry, feel great and weigh ten pounds less. This is not magic. This is real food. Start now, don't wait three years.
Persue passion projects. Now is the time, my friend. All those things that you love to do? Keep doing them. Daily. Never stop. We've clearly established that you have the time. So no excuses. Do them. Do them for the very sake of doing them. You'll get better without thinking about it. You'll work without knowing that you're working. You'll balance your time without realizing it. Keep writing and making. Keep observing and reading. You're learning. You're building a path for future Elise and you don't even understand that yet. I am so grateful for you.
PS...no need to stress; you did indeed find the perfect "E" name for your daughter. And deployments are lame, but they pass and you forget they even happened. And go with the j.crew wedding dress, don't bother trying any others. And get the twitter handle "elisejoy" not "eliseblaha." And, last thing, invent Instagram if you find yourself with the chance. xoxo.