Dear Vanessa…

Dear Vanessa,


You’re 26 years old now, which is kinda crazy.  It’s almost too hard to believe that it’s been ten whole years since you celebrated your sweet 16th.  You’ve certainly come a long way since then. 

You’ve learned a great deal in the 26 years you’ve lived on this planet.  Even though you’re really very clever, you sometimes forget some of these lessons.  I’m writing you this as a little reminder of the things you’ll need to keep in mind to make your 26th year the best ever:


– You need to slow the eff down.  You’ve made it this far by working your backside off, worrying yourself sick about your progress and going nutso comparing where you are to where you think you should be.  You’re in a really great place, and you need to take the time to savour it.  Don’t stop working, and never give up on your dreams, but also don’t be so impatient to reach your goals that you miss all the awesome things that are happening along the way.  You’ll get there, no doubt about it.  In the meantime, there are plenty of lovely things going on to keep your spirits up.


– You’re never going to have Marilyn Monroe’s breasts.  You’re never going to have Gwen Stefani’s abs.  You’re never going to have Dita’s legs.  But that’s O.K, because you have your breasts and your abs and your legs, and they are pretty darn lovely.  Don’t be mad at them because they’re not the ones you hoped for when you were eleven and obsessed with your body.  You got very lucky in the body department.  Be grateful for that.  Also, in forty years, your boobs are going to be where your abs were and your abs might be dangling somewhere around your kneecaps, so enjoy them while they last.


– Writing keeps you sane.  You love it dearly.  So keep doing it every single day.  Even if you never make a buck out of it.  Promise me that.


– Forgive the people that were mean to you in high school.  Give people a chance to surprise you.  Don’t hide yourself away just because you’re scared of being rejected or hated.  It’s a big, wide world, and you’re a freakin’ awesome person.  People are going to want to get to know you.


– Tell people when they are pissing you off.  Don’t pussy-foot about, giving snarky looks and replying “I’m fine” when they ask you what’s wrong.  The passive-aggressive thing is bullshit.  Tell people when they’ve upset you, so they can make it right.  Sometimes, you have to tell people things they don’t want to hear.


– Jelly beans are not a breakfast food.  You’ve tried this a few times, and it always starts out great, but ends with you needing a nap by 2pm.  Don’t make this mistake again.


– Grown-up friendships are different to childhood friendships.  You have to put work into them.  You have to make the effort to call friends, to meet for coffee, to travel and to spend tiem with them.  Even though it takes effort, it should never feel like a chore. If it does, you’ve picked the wrong friends.


– If you love someone, adore someone or think somebody is awesome, then tell them so.  Trust me, nobody is going to be put out to hear this.


–   Stop pretending things are easy when they aren’t.  Don’t brush off compliments about things you’ve put a lot of effort into by trivializing them.  That double degree you finished?  You worked really hard for that.  This blog you’ve built from the ground up?  That’s a huge achievement.  The eight-year-relationship you’re in that’s going gangbusters?  That’s a big deal.  Stop pretending that all of these things came easy, or that you got them by sheer luck.  Own up to the work you’ve done and be proud of your achievements to date.


There’s more I could say, for sure, but these are the main things I want to remind you of.  Keep these in mind for the next 12 months, so that you have the best year yet.


Peace out,



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