Letter #101

Content Warnings: self-doubt


Dear friend, 

I’ve been grappling with my self-worth and life trajectory recently. 

Throughout much of my 23 years of life, I hadn’t really paid much attention to my appearance, or what people might think. I guess I didn’t have a reason to care; I had school, sports, and other distractions.

It wasn’t until the end of college that I started to question what the h*ll I was doing wrong. Academics and career development were my top priorities while I was in college, or at least that’s what I chose to focus on the most. I had situated myself into a sizable social group and had a secure core of friends—who I was and still am—grateful to have. But over time, I started to feel the doubt creep in.

I had never been concerned with relationships or my self image throughout my time in college, but I couldn’t help but wonder if something was brutally wrong.

As far as romantic relationships, I’ve had maybe a handful of dates. Nothing crazy. But nothing ever moved forward, almost like it was headed nowhere fast. After multiple failed talking stages and trying some of the popular dating apps, I started to accept that maybe I wasn’t cut out for the whole thing. Maybe I didn’t deserve the type of love or admiration that I wanted. 

Along with other factors, this doubt compounded, and I spiraled into a depressive episode. I pulled away from those around me and went into a social hibernation. It’s not that I gauged my self-worth with whether or not I was in a relationship, but I had never felt so isolated and fearful of rejection. I adopted the mentality of being the first one to leave a relationship because that was the only way I felt that I held some sort of power. 

The truth is I like being alone. I like following my own agenda, being independent. But I’ve started to question whether this is sustainable in the long run. There’s this overwhelming feeling of guilt. Guilt from feeling like I am wasting my 20s and disappointing the 12-year-old who thought that being a young adult might entail something more than a non-fulfilling 9am to 5pm and watching reality reruns after 7pm. I’ve realized that I had been grieving a life that had not yet ended but felt like it certainly had.

But maybe that’s not entirely my fault. For some reason, our world has categorized someone’s 20s as their 30s. We’ve entered a time warp of our own making that ceases to slow under any circumstance. 

So, I’ll spare you with the details and make it clear that I am changing things, for the better. I refuse to lay down and act as an extra in my own life, waiting for something to happen. For the first time in years, I’ve started going to the gym again. I am trying to get to know myself each day. Doing little things that are outside my comfort zone and still trying to see the brighter side of things. Yes, the world is not the best place right now, but all I can do is be a good human and act as my own advocate. In some ways, I feel like I am trying to connect to that person I was 11 years ago. 

If I could sit across from a past version of myself for 5 minutes, I would say three things:

1) You won’t have everything figured out in your twenties, and that’s normal. 

2) No, you can’t control every aspect in your life, but most of the ;me you can choose how you react.

3) You will have instances in which you feel like you’ve hit a wall. Always choose to keep going. 

I don’t doubt that there will be setbacks, but I hope there’s an overall net positive. I hope that, at the end of this, I can make that 12-year-old smile. 



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