In 26 birthday letter letter to myself open letter

Dear Camille

I turn 26 years old today, and as I glanced back at pictures of myself turning 16, there are so many things I wish I could have known then. 

Dear Camille,

Happy 16th Birthday! You'll have an amazing time tonight at your Sweet 16 Mardi Gras Themed party with all your close friends attending. And tonight you'll get your first kiss: remember those butterflies and that joy.

This year will be exciting for you, and dramatic. You will experience your first real romantic heartbreak, and it sucks. Ten years later you will still remember being broken up with at a football game. But it prepares you, because you have more heartbreak coming later in life. Don't worry though, your life is also filled with so much overwhelming joy that the heartbreaks are bearable.

You couldn't know it then, but one of your best friends at 16 will still be one of your very best friends when you turn 26. She is your son's godmother and he adores his Aunt Yinzee. She will be your best friend when you work together at your first job at Pizza Joe's, when she moves to Arkansas and you move to Kentucky for school, she will be the maid of honor at your wedding, and in a decade, she will move to Cleveland and after 8 years of long distance friendship, you will once again be just minutes apart.

Try not to stress out when you fight with your friends: the true ones are still around in a decade, and the ones that fall away? Well, just know that not every friendship is meant to last a lifetime.

Stop telling yourself that you need to lose weight or that you need to cover your middle in pictures: you are beautiful. You are stunning at 16 and still beautiful now. Even though you don't always love the mirror, at 26 you will have the self-esteem and confidence that you should have had your whole life.

You'll find yourself being more dramatic and emotional this year, and you'll start to think that you know everything. You don't sweetie, and you still don't know it all when you're 26. You are learning, and you will spend a lifetime learning. There are lessons you will learn the hard way this year, but I  can't warn you about them because they are things you need to learn the hard way in order for the lessons to stick.

Just remember to embrace your days, to not wish them away, and to show love and kindness. Happy happy 16th birthday!


26 year old me

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