Dear thirty, flirty, and thriving Molly,
How are you? When is the last time you read Harry Potter? What’s on the radio these days? Your twenty-two-year-old self can’t stand what’s on the radio but maybe you’ve changed your mind! Never stop exploring new music. Do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to adopt your father’s music taste and keep the same running playlist for six years. Never forget how perfect it feels to hear a song that perfectly fits the scene and situation you’re in at the exact right moment.
Do adopt, however, your father’s sense of logic and his levelheaded-ness. He’s annoying about it sometimes, sure, but it’s what has made your decisions leading up to your thirty-year-old self work. You’re not done learning from him yet. That goes for the rest of your family members. Have you taken a trip with your brothers yet? Make that happen.
If there’s one word that sums up the attitude of how you feel most every day in Chicago right now, it’s that you are antsy. You’re antsy to move, antsy to explore. While I hope you’ve learned to be more comfortable with living in the moment, remember this goal—never to stop seeking more, wanting more, both inwardly and outwardly.
I honestly don’t know what your job will look like at this point or where you’ll be living. Whatever ad gig you’re working, column you’re writing, TV series you’re producing, or country you’re traveling, I hope you took a risk to get there. I don’t care if it paid off, because either way I’m sure you learned something. And you better have written about it. (Molly, I swear, if you have yet to write about a big life event, stop reading immediately and scribble into whatever notebook you have lying around. I know you always have at least three journals on hand). Remember it’s about the experiences you have, not materials or money you have to show for it—and if you write it down, you’ll have both.
I hope you’ve learned to not waste time. You’ve been a little too easy to walk over in the past, so don’t allow yourself to spend time with people you don’t need in your life. Don’t do anything that isn’t productive for you. I hope you’ve learned how to be selfish this way.
Remember how when you went to work on a farm in another country, no one believed that you would willingly place yourself in the great outdoors with minimal running water? “Molly, you don’t even like camping, how are you going to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere?” You didn’t have an answer to that question but went anyway and spoke your best French, ate the best bread, and had the best time. I hope you’ve done something unexpected like that again. Never be afraid to surprise people, especially yourself.
Don’t forget about Sundays. It’s when you’d call mom and dad when you first moved away, when the Oscars are on, and when you’d have so many thoughts floating about for the week ahead, you never fell asleep at a reasonable hour. I hope you still take forever to get cuddled into bed comfortably and look up lyrics to sad songs as you listen to them because you know that makes you feel better (you’re so dramatic!).
Remember how cozy a hot cup of tea can make you feel and that, “in the whole scheme of life”, just like Mom always says, what you’re worrying about right now probably doesn’t matter.
Oh and Molly—if you haven’t yet, get that damn tattoo.