Dear 20-year-old Spring,
Oh, love. You are so happy right now. Enjoy it. But life is going to hit you so hard when you graduate from college. You won’t be prepared. You’ll suspect it’s harder for you than it is for most people. This might be true. It’s going to hurt, but you’re going to grow, and it’s going to be worth it.
Bear in mind a few things.
1. Try not to make any life-altering decisions before you’re 25. Seriously. Your brain hasn’t finished forming yet, even though you feel like it has. It hasn’t.
2. You can undo any decisions you’ve made that no longer work for you. Don’t let people guilt you about commitment and stability. They’re probably laboring under a commitment they made that no longer works for them. They’re responsible for living their life; you’re responsible for living your life.
3. Life doesn’t have to look any certain way. Just because most people you went to college with followed the college>marriage>house>babies plan doesn’t mean you have to also. It’s a lie that that’s the only responsible path for a grown-up. If you decide you want to sell everything you own and move to Paris even though you don’t know anyone there and don’t even speak the language, don’t let anyone else’s fears prevent you from doing it. Decide what you want out of your life and then make it happen.
4. Show yourself to people and invite them to show themselves to you. It’s frightening, but it’s far better than the alternative. This is also how you fall in love.
5. You deserve love. Contrary to what your religion taught you. Despite the mistakes you’ve made and are going to make, you’re not the worst person in the world. You are, however, the same as the worst person in the world, and this knowledge will lend you compassion for those who need it most. God still loves you. And people who love God still love you, and not in that judgmental “love the sinner, hate the sin” way. (That’s not love.)
6. It’s okay to be angry about what your religion taught you. But don’t let it make you bitter. Reject it all, but reconsider some of it eventually. There is some good stuff in there amidst all the gunk, some half-truths that your experience and insight will fill out and make whole. Be a treasure hunter for Truth (with a capital T).
7. It’s okay to crisis for a while before you have any of this figured out. It’s also okay to watch i heart huckabees every single day for several months while you crisis. Whatever gets you through. Just try to remember to eat, because you need your strength, and water your plants, because living with dying plants will make the crisis worse.
8. Try on different philosophies. If the blanket theory from the above movie helps you out for a while, try viewing the world through it. If drawing cubes on your chalkboard makes you feel better, do it. Existentialism is good, but try not to hang out there for too long. It’s not the whole truth. Everything is not meaningless and absurd.
9. It’s okay to not listen to any of this. You won’t anyway. Making mistakes is the best way to learn. But remember that the consequences from your mistakes will stick around long after you’ve learned from them. Also remember that most people never learn, smart people learn from their mistakes, and geniuses learn from other people’s mistakes. Strive for genius.
10. Don’t grow up too quickly. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Have fun. Smoke. Drink. Swear. Dance. Have (safe) sex. Get tattoos (in places that are mostly hideable). Live.
P.S. Everything you want right now? You’re going to get. But it might not look like what you think it will.
P.P.S. Don’t give up on love. It’s everything you hope it is and more.