Letter to My 20-Year-Old Self

Another blog I like an awful lot and which inspired me to start a Life List* recently suggested another project: write a letter to your 20-year-old self. So I did. It was more than a little interesting to think about who I was and what I didn’t see coming and what I wish I’d known. Mostly, my 20-year-old self did okay, but she could’ve used a wise older sister along the way. Poor kid.

Dear Ashley,

Oh, sugar.

Bless your heart. No, really. You’re gonna need it. For one thing, you’re getting a journalism degree, and wow is that industry about to take a big ol’ dump. But that’s alright. Probably. Okay, we’re still working on it, but optimism is important.

In the meantime, you study too hard. It’s okay to go to parties once in awhile. You should probably also be drinking more. That, unlike conversational Russian and biological anthropology, is a skill you can use.

This would be a really good time to go backpacking through Asia or South America or something. Put the text books down and go.

You’re not going to like Texas, but go anyway. You’ll learn things and make a little money. Not a lot but enough. Eat more tortillas while you’re there, and appreciate that used bookstore nearby. Good used bookstores are thin on the ground in L.A.

Yes, you’re moving to Los Angeles. Yes, that one. No, you’ll love it. Why are you laughing? I’m serious. Well, fine. You’ll have to see for yourself, but it’s going to be great.

Go a little easier on yourself, too. You’re doing just fine. Ease up on the reins.


Oh, and buy stock in Google. Trust me on this.



(*A Life List is a revolving list of 100 things you want to do before you die. Life List sounds a lot nicer than “bucket list.” When you do something, cross it off and add something else in its place. Big things and little things. Share it or keep it private. Your choice. At first, it was just a fun thing to think about, but I have to tell you, after doing it, I feel like it’s how I measure progress in my life, how I know if I’m living it the way I want to. Surprisingly profound. Might want to think about trying it yourself.)