A Letter To My 30-Year-Old Self : Annaliese Stockmeier

Mimosas-Lake-Michigan-Chiago-Steps-Summer Photo : Alanna Bagladi

Dear 30-Year-Old Self,

First of all, Happy GOLDEN Birthday Year! Remember when you were a child in Kid’s Club and talking to the other kids about how you were the only one who would be old on her golden birthday and how disappointed you were? It was such a big deal. Remember how you also joked when you said, “Great! I’m going to spend my special day chasing around two little bratty kids!” Clearly life’s course has not been quite what you thought it would be and so who knows what might happen in the next 8 years, but I do have a few ideas that I think would make for a nice future.

I hope you/I have found professional success, whatever that means to you at age 30. I think it involves working a more fulfilling job than being a reservation agent at a hotel and also a salary. More important, however, is that you haven’t lost work and personal life balance. I hope you remember to “Work to live, don’t live to work.”

In your relationships, I hope you maintained your closeness with Mom, Dad, and the rest of the family. Maybe you still have weekly coffee with Mom. I would love to think that Mary Kate, Cameron, Erin, and Madelaine are still your closest friends and you have wine nights with them every week. But, if you can’t because they are in the peace core or the schedule is booked with celebrity hair clients or digging up bones in Africa or simply not in same city as you, I hope you are able to call them up and know immediately that they are completely happy in life and living their dreams. When you really miss them, just get on a flight and go see them.

I hope you haven’t become complacent in any aspect of life. I have one specific goal as a 22-year-old and that is to never stop moving, traveling, learning, and experiencing new things, all for the purpose enhancing my understanding of the world. No settling. And on that note, I hope you’ve made one drastic, actual move away from Chicago. At least one.

I hope you never tried to go brunette again. I hope you know more about wine and spent a summer working in Wine Country and are mostly not pretentious about it. I hope you showed the Federal Government who’s boss by paying off all of your student loans early with your adult salary. Hopefully you know a little more about how to use your fancy camera and have a collection of amazing photographs taken from your travels around the world. I hope you started hiking, but if you forgot and lost interest, please re-read Wild and buy a pair of boots with your adult salary income. I hope you never stop learning or lose the desire to continue education…22-year-old self hasn’t given up on graduate school yet. You better be working out and eating right because our body is a temple and the only one we have! I will never forgive you if you lost your opal ring or gold necklace and Gosh darnit you better have finished watching Ally McBeal by now.


Your 22yo, bright-eyed but still desperately unsure of everything self.


Annaliese Stockmeier : 90’s Rom-Com Fanatic, Tabata Aficionada, and Chicago Foodie. The next Rick Steves. Please call me Smalls.