The young age of 23 will be ending for me very shortly. In fact 8 minutes from now I will be turning into a fresh 24 year old. It's a good reminder to think that I have awoken 365 times, and that a whole YEAR has been given to me. We only have so many of those to look forward to.
Writing it down seems easy for me, but if I was thinking back to a decade ago, when I was 14, I probably thought the age 24 sounded pretty old. Three whole years after I was able to legally drink, well damn that means I sure had to have known what life was going to be like. I would have all the answers. Wouldn't I? Now, here I am about to give some advice to all the old mes, and the ages I had lived through, leading until now.
Dear younger selves, this is the future Brie',
If you haven't already noticed, this 24 year old self (It's official, the clock just turned 12:00), now goes by Brie'. It was shortened because you got sick of telling people how to correctly say your name, even if you have known them for years.
The person I am today has a lot of stories by now, and I hope my current self will learn some lessons from this letter, by reflecting on the past paths, to find the current lessons, to create a better future me.
Dear 14 year old self:
Don't be afraid of loosing your best friend.
Your best friend, is still truly your best friend. Even though you two live completely different lives -
Traci: Short --- Brie: Tall
Traci: Blonde --- Brie: Brunette
Traci: 3 Boys --- Brie: 0 Kids
Traci: Married and committed --- Brie:Traveling.Single.Independent
Traci: Living in Germany on an Army base --- Brie': Traveling around the country
and will spend the next 10 years further physically from each other, you love each other very much. You consider her one of your spirit angels in your life. Skype becomes the median for communication.
Dear 15 year old self:
Let her go
When you hug her, really feel it, and when you laugh together, really feel it, and when you love her, really feel it. You won't have much more time in this decade to bond with your only and younger sibling. Appreciate her innocence as much as you can because you won't have long before you two go in different paths. You can't help her anymore, you can only help yourself.
Dear 16 year old self:
You don't have to conform into someone your not.
In your family and social circle, you might think that you need to be Mormon to be accepted. You don't. You can choose to live the life you want to live. If you don't believe in what your trying to find, accept it and move on. If it doesn't speak to you, look somewhere else.
All I can say from here is to hold on tight, because what happens next is going to be a bumpy ride, and it will last for a few years.
I want to hold your hand through all of it, and tell you that I am your friend, that I love you, and even though it doesn't seem like it, everything will be alright. Please, dear god, just hold on.
P.s. Remember when you confessed to your Mormon best friend at a Mormon event, that you were going to break up with the non-Mormon boy at school? Well, brace yourself, because that scenario turns completely around. You end up being labeled as "The married girl" when returning to school.
Dear 17 year old Brie:
Hold on. Its going to be a bumpy ride.
This will be the worst year in the decade. You won't document much this year. You are too busy trying to keep your life compiled into something that its not. The mask you put on daily, will break you. You will struggle to find out how to live a stable life.
Relationship Status: Married (Unhappily). You will get out.
That kidney that is bothering you – after 8 infections, it will get removed.
That hometown you are striving to get out of – it will happen.
It will seem like a long time till you are truly happy, but you are learning lessons about yourself that you won't even comprehend till years from now.
Dear 18 year old Brie:
These people are your pillars in your life
Although it doesn't seem like it, you are now on the downward slope of the roller coaster. You are nearly divorced, and it feels....unreal. The title “married and divorced by graduation” was a daunting one. Don't worry. You finally get out of your hometown this year, after you GRADUATE. Your old high school teacher, and your ex boyfriend, become some of the most important people in your life today. Be patient and kind with what they are trying to teach you. They both love you, and you respect them on the highest levels for keeping up with you. Remember, this is the year you stop talking to your father, but these two are able to understand you and your ability to choose a healthier life without the toxicity.
Dear 19 year old Brie:
Trust in your vision
Don't be so hard on yourself about that break up you are going through. You will learn that you were a jerk, and breaking hearts is not nice. 5 years later, you will be forgiven after your efforts in making it right.
In this time, you have learned that family is who you create, that bars across the boarder are an excuse to go on an adventure, and that letting certain people go can make yourself grow.
Dear 20 year old Brie:
It's okay to be confused. Love yourself anyway.
It's been a year, and you have been in a long year relationship, and its going steady. Only 7 more "real" breakups to go with the person I have grown to be codependent on.
It's okay that you are not into school. You will learn that its not the way that you learn and grow right now. Remember to breathe, because its not as worse as a few years back.
I know your gears are starting to turn, and you are really looking to find yourself, but no, its not in your bangs. (I wish I could warn you before you start to singe your hair off). It's also not in the multiple containers of doctor prescriptions, because not even one of those of depression pills is going to gear you in the right direction.
Dear 21 year old Brie:
That relationship will NOT destroy you
Moving to San Diego with your, then boyfriend, will not bring you the clarity you are looking for. Also bringing a dog into that turmoil relationship will end up breaking your heart, but not his. Be strong in your oppose. You have to find yourself, and you WILL find a big piece that was missing, self worth and self expression.
Dear 22 year old Brie:
You step it up. You are a beauty.
If I were to tell you that after a messy and hard break up - there will be opportunities to fulfill a dream, or three? Would you believe that these dreams would be reachable? No. Never would I believe that one of these things would happen. Well guess what, they come true.
This is the year, this is the time. Lets not get crazy here - but you will REALLY pull through. You wanted your own place, well you will get one. It will be a cute lil loft in the city. You want to learn about coffee, because your in the coffee capitol, so you will start to work at Starbucks, which will be pretty fun for awhile, until it isn't, and you get bored. You will have the courage to quit, and figure it out.
You meet someone who will change your life forever, and from that encounter. you will reclaim your life. You gain your inner kid spirit, and you travel the country as if its your playground. You play and sing guitar on the reg, and you are able to perform at open mics, and that the only thing your calling baby is your camera, and it goes everywhere with you. Reminder - Bring it everywhere, no excuses.
Oh yeah. I forgot to mention - because you are a true Seattlite now, you get put into a local music music video -
Acting - Check
Musician - Check
Photographer - Check
Blogger / Writer - Check
Dear 23 year old Brie:
You fulfill your dreams. Now its time to dream new ones.
23 was a year that mimics the cliche saying "That was a good year, one of the best"
You will travel over the country for half of the year, in a car you bought for $200. Getting rid of the material items frees you, and don't worry about where you are going to go after this trip. The cute apartment in the city will still be there when you get back, but you won't have the feelings of missing it as much as you thought you would. Don't worry about where your going to live next after this trip, it will last longer then you imagined.
You will plan a road trip, and to start it off with one of your favorite people on the planet. You don't need to worry about the route you want to go, put down the plans because you end up throwing away the planned route, because you will end up being hippy napped. You experience so many things, that its hard to even comprehend now. (It is all still be processed).
+ Shambs + Los Angeles + Austin + Mt Shasta + Salt Lake City + Nevada + Vail, CO + Detroit, MI + Hightway 1 + The SF Bay
I hope to get 365 more days of waking up from a slumber, 365 chances to see the sun come up and the sun go down.
Happy Birthday Brie'Ana. 24 is already looking good on you.