Letter to my 35-Year-Old Self: Katie Simpson

Dear Self,

I know it’s probably weird reading this. Don’t worry, I’m still struggling with reaching 30 soon (insert denial tactic here). I hope you’ve dealt with the fear and anxiety that come up with that. It has been five years for you. I know, anxiety is second nature for us, but we don’t need it. We hold so much tension in our bodies: our hands overflow with fine lines; our shoulders get tight.

I don’t expect you to be a carefree happy go lucky person. I just hope you can stay grounded in trusting yourself. It all gets done, exactly when it’s supposed to. We both know worrying doesn’t help.

I don’t want to talk about milestones. We’ve both seen how hard those can be when life changes. I won’t lie: I expect you’re still traveling, still opening yourself up to new places and new ideas. I believe you’ll be stronger than the internet trolls. Neither of us will be able to stop from speaking our minds and I like it that way.

In an ideal world, you’ve made it to the dream. You know, with that cabin by the sea. You’re living with the guy who doesn’t expect you to be anyone but yourself. The guy who thinks your early morning dancing is sexy and listens to you ramble incoherently about your new favorite book. He even does half the chores! If he cooks, you have definitely won the jackpot. Obviously, he at least tolerates cats because you have two sibling cats that cuddle each other. You give great massages and clean the dishes. It all works out.

He’s the partner we’ve always wanted. He’s the guy who will share your life but also be a separate person. Have you told him about your minor addiction to Yaoi manga? I should have put a warning to burn this after reading, my bad.

Mostly, I hope you feel loved by your partner, by your friends, by your family. You know how long the struggle has been just to ask for what we need. Keep asking. I pray you’re letting the takers go more quickly than I have. You aren’t required to be anyone’s free therapist. It’s not your emotional work in this lifetime.

Most importantly, you better continue the self-love. I have not been going to therapy, filling out journals, even meditating for you to suddenly quit. This is a marathon, babe. Or maybe it’s a relay race. I’m not sure which metaphor applies, but you better run your part, or at the very least keep walking (also keep stretching. Remember that tennis elbow? It was awful.)

I can hear you waiting for the focus on work. Remember when we were working full time and hustling to do our essays, poetry, and fiction? It’s so ridiculously busy and I have no idea what I’m doing! I’d like you to tell me it’s all okay. Have you figured out work life balance? Become a bestselling writer people follow on Twitter? Do places like The Guardian and New York Times publish your essays? Blink once for yes, two for no. Sigh, this one way communication is tough.

I know, I said no milestones, no to-do lists. In the end, these are just dreams I have now. I kind of hope your life doesn’t look like this. I hope it’s full of new dreams and goals and struggles because it means you’re still living and not just a 2D fantasy. We deal with enough people having ideas of who we are as it is.

More than anything, I pray for life feeling a certain way that you see the beauty in every day; that you feel nourished and loved; that you are doing work that feels meaningful and rewarding. I don’t pray for happiness, I pray for contentment and serenity. I dream of you living the connected life that still feels slightly out of my grasp.

Whatever your life looks like, I love you. I hope you do too.

-You know who

Katie Simpson Bio
Katie Simpson | Can’t leave her house without a camera, pen, and notebook. Committed journaler, sometimes doodler. Dreams of being a cat lady someday.