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Dear Younger Me...

Look at you. No beard in sight. Hair line is still hanging in there. You probably don't even put on weight when you eat fast food yet! Oh how I wish I could just take the mildly more experienced thoughts in my head and force them into yours. Alas, this'll have to do.

If I had to pick a place to start, it would be not to worry about rushing love. I know you grew up watching Disney and you always wanted to do what you thought was the "normal" relationship path through life. Trust me, no matter how many mistakes you make, you're always going to have more lessons to learn. Stop trying to find the girl you're going to marry all the time. Just find the girl that makes you happy, that makes you feel good about yourself. I hate to say it, but it's going to take a while. Longer than you probably want to know. But it will happen. And it will be worth it. Just make sure you learn your lessons along the way so you got what it takes to make her feel good about herself too.

Next? Stop trying so hard to be who you think everyone else wants you to be. This one might take longer than the last (jury's still out even now) but the sooner you learn how important it is to at least strive for self love, the better. At the end of the day, you can only be one person. Better to be yourself. It's a lot less exhausting and you're going to scare off all the people that you don't need around you anyway (there will be plenty of those. Try to move on without them towards better things.)

Never stop dreaming. You have no idea how long you'll make yourself deal with things you don't love just because you thought it was better to do what you were "supposed to do" than what you actually wanted. You might never achieve your dreams but you'll be way happier chasing them than burying them.

You will buy another car eventually. It'll be awesome.

Maybe try going to the gym more often? The metabolism is really starting to wear out and you're not exactly practiced at taking care of yourself. Way too many peanut M&Ms and bottles of Pepsi. I know they're delicious, that hasn't changed. You still love McDonald's too. But none of that means you can't lift some weights a few times a week. I know you're not doing anything better with your time, trust me.

There will come a time when you try to cut your ties and move away looking for a fresh start. You should still do that, just know it won't be as easy or glamorous as you'd hoped. It's gonna be damn lonely and you're going to hate what you're doing but it'll be worth it. Big life-changing events are coming. Just gotta hang in there.

You still love Star Wars but keep yourself in check, the new ones (yep, they made more) are not what you were hoping for. Not even a little bit. (you still like the prequels less but it's a disappointingly slim margin)

Learn to know what you stand for and what you believe in and how to fight for both. I know you think you've got a pretty good handle on who you are as a person. You don't. You'll be tested by a lot of different things in your life and you'll see what you're willing to bend or even break on. You'll learn what you'll put up with even if you hate it. You'll learn the cost of going against your values for the sake of others. It's going to be awful at times. But necessary. You need to find yourself. You have no idea how lost you are right now.

You still hate the taste of coffee and tea. Though you've developed an affinity for energy drinks. Strange, I know.

Learn to smile in your pictures. Learn to take pictures for that matter. I still can't do it. I blame you.

Have faith in yourself. When things bother you in life, trust that you know yourself well enough to take your feelings seriously. You're going to struggle for years convincing yourself that things that upset you aren't actually a big deal. You're more important than that. You deserve better than to shut down your own feelings. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Be okay with that. Be okay with yourself. You can't rely on anyone else to do it for you.

Continue to empathize as much as you can. The world is going to get messy. The only hope any of us has is to try to understand one another. Put aside your preconceived notions and try to appreciate people for who they actually are, not who you're told they are.

Defend yourself. You deserve happiness and fulfillment.

Defend others. They deserve it too.

All that time playing World of Warcraft was worth it. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise.

Taco Bell is going to make tacos out of Dorito chips. Be warned, you will want to eat them way too often.

Love Meeko every day. You're going to miss him more than you know when he's gone. Yes, I know you love him. No, you don't understand how much it'll suck after he's gone.

You still haven't gone skydiving. I'm sorry...

The Legend of Zelda is still going and better than ever. Unfortunately, you're not sure if you're going to keep buying Nintendo consoles. To be determined...

VR is here finally and it's pretty great.

You finally bought that Alienware Desktop computer you always wanted. Good for you.

Your sister is going to be very important and a lot cooler than you probably expected. Cherish her, you're going to need to lean on her a lot and she you.

I guess that's about it. If I had to sum it all up into one piece of advice? It'd be to just take it easy and learn to have faith and confidence in yourself and the things you believe in. You should strive every day to grow and learn but you should always love who you are along the way. It just makes everything else better. Anyone who says different is just upset you've got something they haven't figured out yet.

So you do you. No one can do it better! And good luck. You're gonna need it... Oof...

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