A Message To Myself At 23

Talking to yourself.

Hello me.

This is you, writing to you, on a cold Sunday afternoon, typing as fast as you can because the battery on your laptop is quickly depleting, and any small movement will remind you that you haven’t showered and quite frankly you smell. But despite the dirty conditions you have found yourself in once again, despite the sleepless night with Roxy quietly snoring on your feet after a hard day of being a cute dog, and despite the intrusive thoughts that plague your mind daily, you’ve just remembered you can become better.

It’s happened before, we got there. We’ve exhausted both ends of the spectrum, indescribably high and harrowingly low, and the issue is we don’t know how to exist in the medium because quite often we miss it. We propel ourselves from one side to the other with no idea how to live in the equilibrium.

And so now you are 23 and one week, and despite all that has happened in the twelve months prior, the joys, the days of cold surrender, the paths to getting better and the off-trails that surround it; you find yourself not having grown. A job is a job but is working so you don’t die really living? Or is just the equivalent to being put on stand-by until someone pulls the plug.

I’m trying to remember the previous years. 18 was underwhelming. 19 was ambivalent. 20 was somewhat okay. 21 was a failure to launch. And 22 was mostly apathetic.

And so we come to 23. And we’ve never been the type to make new year’s resolutions. They’re for people with no self-control. But we need to have a talk, and make some bullet-point challenges and objectives for the next twelve months because otherwise we’re on a crash course for either imminent disaster or a meaningless life. Neither sounds particularly pleasant. So here are some things you keep telling yourself and then forgetting that you need to stick to for the year:

  • To heal wounds, you need to stop touching them. Whatever or whoever it is that is bothering you, making you feel a way you do not enjoy, let it go. Not everything you lose is considered a loss.
  • Driving. You’ve already started the process, stick with it. This will offer you freedom like none before and expand your horizons forever. Get out of your cage, go and see your friends, new places, new memories. Once you can drive, you can do as you please.
  • Your condition does not define you. As much as it may debilitate you, as much as it may trap you a pit, you know there are ways through it. Continue getting help, from friends, from family, from professionals, get better. You are worth more than what your brain tells you.
  • Do not bite your tongue any longer. Write about what excites you, say what bothers you, what you’ve done, what you want to do, about the people you care about. Stop worrying about what others will think and start remembering how you feel. Say it all, with the truest intentions.
  • Try anything once. You’ve faltered on this motto for a while, but it served you well in the past. Whatever it is, try it once. You might surprise yourself, you might confirm your own predetermined thoughts, you might open new doors. Try it all once and it all becomes another story to tell.
  • Don’t deny yourself love because you’re scared of the endgame, otherwise, you’ll never be happy with anyone in your life. Look up to the tree, and climb it without fear of how you’ll get back down. You are clumsy, you are awkward, you are not great with words, but you aren’t devoid of love. Tell people how you really feel.
  • Don’t let past experiences define you. Sometimes you are the bad person, and you are the reason things didn’t go well. That’s okay, you are human. But don’t let past Daniel punish future Daniel. He doesn’t deserve it.
  • And finally, read more, write more, play more, eat more, do more, say more, love more, plan more, travel more, laugh more, cry more, express more, fail more.

Now, go and take a shower and wash off yesterday’s stink.

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