Letter From a 26


In turning 26 today, I am going to post something different. Instead of weaving a long-ass narrative about maturity or the point of celebrating a birthday, I choose to write a letter to my past self instead.

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Dear past me,

Let me start this letter with a piece of good news: at 26, you will grow up to be someone you have and have not imagined, and that is more than you have hoped for.


Remember how you have never been popular, but you have always been that girl who befriends almost everyone? During the year when your generation turned 17, a friend once said, "You are in almost everyone's birthday celebration." You have never been a social butterfly, and considering how awkward you have always been with new people, you certainly haven't learned how to party, but you will turn into a sharp, sarcastic homebody who loves both solitude and the company of a few friends. You will grow more passionate but also more realistic. You will be someone whose opinion you will seek and hear, not a friend's or anybody else's.


Past me,

I knowyour mind can be so loud sometimes that it can be hard to hear yourself speak. Your intrusive thoughts are hard to tame, but you will one day find out that those fears are not a phase. They have a name. Believe me when I say that it will feel a thousand times better to discover that you are not alone. It might feel weird, but you are not.


Past me,

People will say that you are kind, but you deep down know what you truly area desperate people pleaser with a pathological need to be liked. How people perceive you will serve like a shadow following every step. It will eventually tire you though, shaping a faultless silhouette, so you will slowly come to terms with the sentiment that you are more than just an opinion. 


Past me,

Your mom will one day say that if all people were as considerate as you, the world would be a peaceful place to live in. You will think that she gives you too much credit, and instead reckon that the world would be a frustrating place to grow up in with a constant gale of self-loathing blowing as a threat.


But then you will also remember that bad days are temporary and that they will pass. Who knows, a little of this whatsit, no matter how weird, could change a lot of perspectives into something greater instead.


Past me,

Please remember that there is always more than the eyes see. Some adults in your life might seem so cool, holding their life together with barely an effort. You look up to them and jump to the conclusion that perhaps adulting is the easiest part of growing up. You will eventually realize that the advertisement is a scam. Some of them are in shambles, depending on others to clean up the mess they have made. You will shake your head in disappointment and slowly keep your distance.


Past me,

You will find it hard to imagine yourself getting married. Maybe someday you will find someone who can convince you that love is worth it, or maybe you will go adopt three cats and independently live in a high-rise apartment with a view. I just hope that wherever the path leads, you will always remember that you are enough.


Past me,

You might be afraid to lose friends. You might think that you need to do everything to maintain your friendship. While it’s nice to have a circle to go out with almost every weekend, you will eventually realize that not everything stays the same. Dating will keep some of your friends occupied, some of them will get married early, and some bonds will simply fade away. But everything will still be okay. You will realize that it is what it is, that it is a part of life, and you will slowly come to terms with it.


Past me,

Some people will underestimate you because of your age, while some will not take you seriously because you tend to voluntarily produce some self-deprecating jokes. You will try to prove yourself at first, but you will then realize how being brushed aside has its own merits and the surprisingly satisfying reaction that follows.


Present me,

You turn 26 today, and I want to thank you for being tough. I hope that this year is going to be awesome, and that even if you have officially joined the late 20s era, 26 is going to be the new pop of color in life. It might not be as dramatic as turning a quarter of a century old, and given that you have decided to lay low, you are spending your birthday in the office with no plan to do a real celebration.


But a new era is still a new era. Girlie, happy birthday.

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Also, happy birthday to my litter sister. I hope she will get married and have a bunch of kids soon so I have cute nieces and nephews to spoil. Sincerely, a future cool aunt.