Letter to my 20-year-old self

22 June 2010 § 1 Comment

Dear Newgyptian, Age 20 – 

Just breath. Go ahead, do it. Take a deep, soothing breath. You are not suffocating. You are not on the verge of suffocating. You will not be disowned for loving the wrong boys, getting some bad grades, stopping your daily prayers, or smoking those cigarettes. Don’t feel guilty about everything so much. The world is going to work out just fine for you, you’ll see. What’s more, the world will not end at 25 as you suspect. In fact, you will be your most awesome then. You will make lifelong dreams come true that year. You will have your heart slightly broken and then mended.  Most importantly, you will figure out your relationship with your parents and be glad that you made the effort.

Stop being so defensive.  Stop pointing your finger in a fit of rage at your closest friends who love you .  Learn to apologize even if you don’t think you mean it because it matters to the people you care about, and who care about you.

And those two boys – the sweet caring loving one who held your hair back when you were sick in your wastebasket; and the adventurous, fiesty, abrasive one who talked you through your first real romantic relationship? They will be your bedrock over the next few years. Many of the kind, good, great things that will happen to you will be a direct result of you having known them. And even when, in your late 20s, you go years, YEARS without seeing them, you will still feel that they are your closest friends.  The older brothers you never had. The ones who know you sometimes better than you know yourself. You will be overwhelmed by how much you love them, and you will marvel at what acts of chance and fate brought you together, and you will be grateful. 

You will also learn the magic of having a close community of kickass girlfriends. Women who will demonstrate to you the true meaning of that difficult to translate concept of “gad3ana”. You will discover that when it comes to doing battle in the everyday trenches all you’ll need is that core group of women each one offering her own brand of advice, laughter and support. They will make you so proud to be a woman.

And for god’s sake – be comfortable in your own beautiful skin. Wear that short skirt even though you think your knees are too meaty. Try that crazy hairstyle if you like – your hair will grow back. Your sense of regret at things undone will take much longer to abate.

And know this – life will be so much harder than you imagined, and you will be so much stronger about it than you could have suspected.  And though you can’t quite believe in it you will find your best friend and soul mate, and it will happen under the most unlikely circumstances. And it might take you a good long while to realize it (you’ve never been quick on the uptake when it comes to love). He will be nothing like you imagined you wanted, but – as uncomfortable as this makes your feminist, independent woman heart – he will complete you. Though he will come into your life at a point when everything is really, really good, he will somehow make it so much better.

So do not forget to laugh a lot and enjoy every moment as much as you can. Despite some really difficult times, life is going to be so good for you yet. You’ll see.


Newgyptian at 30

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You are currently reading Letter to my 20-year-old self at So I married a Farangi.