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Letters to My Younger Self

The advice I'd give to myself at 15, 18, 21, 25, and 30.
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Sloan is only three-years-old and the "mistakes" she makes are minimal—enthusiastically placing stickers all over her bed frame, getting Play-Doh caught in the grooves of our coffee table or shattering a 'big girl' glass she's convinced me to let her drink from. But sometimes I can't help but look ahead to years from now when she'll be much less inclined to hear my advice. In the interest of mentally preparing myself for her adolescence, I'm looking back at some of my own pivotal moments and the advice I'd give to my younger self:

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I get it. You have your first boyfriend and you're very excited. But the whole making-out-in-the-hallways-at-school, writing each other constant notes, and talking to each other for three hours every night is a bit much. Have fun, but make sure you remember your priorities: your schoolwork, athletics and most importantly your family and friends. Those are the people who will always be there for you since (spoiler!) this guy won't be around long-term. Another piece of advice: pay attention to red flags. You know how most of the people in your life don't really approve of the relationship? LISTEN TO THEM. It's never a good sign if those who know and love you don't like the person you're dating.

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I know you're nervous—you have good reason to be. You're leaving behind everything and everyone you know for an entirely new experience. But trust me: College is going to be some of the best years of your life. It's where you'll find yourself and develop the confidence that's always been just beneath the surface. You'll fall in love, get your heart broken, learn about the world, make lifelong friends, and develop an even deeper appreciation for where you come from. Embrace new opportunities, do things that scare you (which includes going through with that study abroad opportunity in Chile), and realize that even though you feel stressed and busy, you have very few obligations, so enjoy the freedom. P.S., There's no shame in being excited about the food offered at the dining hall, but multiple desserts after literally every meal isn't wise (especially since you'll realize just how expensive it is to have to buy an entirely new wardrobe by October).

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Go out on your 21st birthday!!! I know you have finals this week, but leave the computer lab for a few hours to buy your first legal drink. No matter what, always make yourself a priority and celebrate accordingly.

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So you're a few years out of college with a job, a live-in boyfriend (great call on G!), and some great friends. You were kind of under the assumption that you had it all figured out until about the time you turned 25, right? It's a weird time. You're certainly not a kid anymore, and old enough to realize you just really don't know much about anything. Find comfort in the uncertainty and be okay with learning as you go and not always having the answers. Don't worry about asking for help—contrary to what you may think, it doesn't show weakness. Lean on those around you, ask thoughtful questions, and be open to failure. Oh, and that risk you're considering—the one the involves leaving your steady 9 to 5 so that you can pursue that little hobby you started on the side (called 'Cupcakes and Cashmere') is worth taking.

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I know you've never been one of those girls who really cares about age, but 30's a big one, so it's okay to feel slightly overwhelmed. But remember this: It's just a number. You don't have to have it all figured out or do anything by a certain age. I know you're still even on the fence as to whether you want kids (spoiler part two: You do and it's the best thing, ever!), but have the confidence and faith in yourself that the answers will come when you're ready. 

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