Dear 18 Year Old Hannah

Hey Hannah,

Oh look at you, bright eyed and bushy tailed and grabbing life by the balls. You’ve got everything figured out, don’t you? You’re going to live in Chicago and become a writer, right? Oh, that’s so cool. I’ve got some bad news for ya, sweetheart. The closest you’ll get to living in Chicago is liking one of Liz’s photos on Instagram. (I’ll fill you in on Instagram later).

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: You’re kind of an idiot. You did not seriously just roll your eyes at me, did you? Well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to do so many dumb things in your life, it’s honestly amazing that you’ve made it this far without ending up in some Turkish prison.

Sure, you also do amazing and daring things that none of your friends do, but you’re also going to find yourself stumbling and in a big mess that you made and you’re going to have to clean it up yourself. (I’m not talking about the super awesome fitted Abercrombie and Fitch sweats you bought with your mom’s Discover.) I’m talking about truly messed up pickles you will find yourself in, and believe it or not, they’re 100% avoidable.

Let’s start with your grades in high school. They sure were colorful. Naturally, you did wonderful in English, German and any writing course, but you know what you completely slacked in and didn’t even care to learn about? Economics. Had you maybe opened up the book instead of copying Derek Meyers’ papers, you might have learned a thing or two about the financial world instead of just relying on that same Discover card to help you through life. Seriously, it would have helped. Not even going to mention math because, it won’t get any better. Even if your accounting professor in college is the man, he will tell you that he’d never trust you with books, but he’d trust you with anything else. Just smile about it and use your phone’s calculator.

You graduated ALMOST in the top half of your class, just under 2%, which in turn, made you go to a community college instead of the university you had hoped to attend. If you applied yourself a liiiiittle more and got off AIM, you easily could have gone. Come on. I’ll let you in on a secret (the dude you like so much will totally end up with someone who’s not you over and over and over again. Just hang up the phone on that one.) Your not so subtle lyrics as your away message are more obvious than you thought, too. Seriously, just give it up.

So, you get this once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Germany for a year. That’s so, so, so amazing! Trust me, it’ll set you apart from the crowd and you seriously need this to grow up because right now, you’re a loose canon who thinks a movie theatre job could turn into a career. Your host family is so caring and perfect, you’ll have to pinch yourself to believe you’re really there with them. You’ll have many firsts there, and you need to embrace every moment because you’re in for a long ride when you get back to The States. You’ll be out in weird situations, which honestly, you handle yourself pretty well in, despite everything. You’re ballsy and you use your wit to get yourself out of some weird situations. Heads up, don’t leave Brian and Ian to go get beer at a soccer game. You’ll wind up getting mugged and breaking someone’s hand. That’s neither here nor there, though.

Anyway.

You’re going to meet a boy.

Omg he’s so perfect and sweet and funny and smart and thoughtful and omg you’ve never had a boy that makes your heart feel like this.

IT’S THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL. He’s great and at the time, everything you want, but my sweet girl, you are going to get bored. A young, butterfly like you should not be put in a cage this early! Go out there! Just be yourself and don’t get so intertwined with a boy who doesn’t have any other hobby besides you. Don’t be someone’s hobby, go find a hobby! Seriously, what do you do besides skate through community college classes, eat Papa Johns and booze? Find an interest! Join a club! F, Hannah! Get out there! You’re going to find out some bad news years later that will literally crush you and you’ll have to pick up the pieces and it’ll take a long, long time. When you get that feeling you shouldn’t be with him, go with it and end it.

Seriously, get out there! I don’t mean go bang a bunch of dudes, I mean go run! Ride a bike! Shit, just anything besides slamming down Busch Lites. You’re gonna get fat. Again, not sugar coating it for you (mmmmmmmm sugar), but you’re going to have to untag a lot of pics on Facebook because you look like an Iowa version of fat Kristie Alley. Just put down the 40 and hop on a trail.

You know who turns out to not suck so much? Your parents. Whaaaaat??? They’re not trying to ruin everything and be buzz kills in your life? No. They are going to help you out in literally every aspect in your life. They’re going to fund your school, rent and be there at 3 am when you’re bawling because of the boy you’re with. They’re your best friends. They understand you more than you know. They honestly want what’s best for you and will give up anything in their lives to help you out. Quit being so selfish and open up to them and be nice. They’re going to bend over backwards for you. Your mom is going to go through some things that will effect everyone and you’ll take it hard. Chin up, darling. She’ll need you.

Your brother is pretty cool too and is going through his own junk, but he’s the man and he will also be one of your best friends. He won’t beat up dudes you like, but sit and make you laugh till you cry. He’s good stuff. And he’ll lend you $1000 for a class (pay him back. It’s been like 3 years.)

Anyway, this has probably been a lot for you to take in. Your life isn’t awful, in fact it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful because of all of this stuff you’ll go through. You’re going to have times when you have no idea what to do, and that’s okay. Take your time and think about things. Go with your gut. (Lose that gut, but go with the metaphorical gut.) Keep the good people close and lose the bad ones. You know who they are. Take a step back to appreciate what you have instead of trying to keep up with everyone else. Be you. You’ve got some nifty things about you that you should run with. You’re gonna be alright, kid. Just shut up every once in a while and listen to those who are smarter than you.

I love you, you whimsical girl, but you’ve got a lot to learn.

-25 year old Hannah

PS- you’re gonna have 2 cats. They’re cool, but seriously keep it as a slow play.

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