Dear 5-Year-Old Me: I'm Sorry I Let You Down, But I'm Still Trying

by Lydia Teffera

Remember when you were a little kid and your parents asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Or when your fifth grade teacher made you write a letter to your 20-something self, explaining who you hope to be and what you hope to have accomplished?

Well, I don’t know about you, but my answers were always extremely ambitious. By now I should be wrapping up my first term as Secretary of State, writing my second novel and supporting my equally ambitious husband, Lil' Bow Wow's, skyrocketing music career.

In fifth grade, age 25 seemed like a lifetime away. It was like an idealistic era filled with endless opportunities and countless successes. I thought I'd know it all and have it all by 25.

Boy, was I wrong.

Once I blew my 25th birthday candle out, I remembered that little girl and I couldn't help but wonder if she would be proud of the woman I am today.

She dreamed for the world, and all I could offer her was a small apartment, a decent job and sub par social life. Would she be shaking her head at me for spending another night with a dude I don't even like, or get annoyed at the fact that I’m not chasing all of my dreams? She probably would.

Your 20s are supposed to be the most amazing and influential years of your life. Everyone always reminisces on them as the time you learn the most about yourself, where you reach for the impossible and jump towards the incredible.

It's the time when you don’t hold anything back and you risk everything for the people and things you want -- at least that’s what I hear.

Don’t get me wrong; I have definitely made my fair share of life-altering decisions. I’ve gone through crazy experiences that have changed the entire direction of my life, and thankfully, most experiences were positive.

However, I do find myself settling for things I don’t really want in all aspects of my life.

From dating busters to working at places that make me cringe, I have endured it all. Recently, I find myself just dealing with it because I've convinced myself something is better than nothing.

But is it?

Is dealing with a scrub better than having no one to love? Is a job where you daydream more than you actually work worth keeping?

What happened to that little girl who reached for the sky? Who wasn’t only content with being an astronaut, but wanted to write a book and produce its movie? Where the hell did she go? Right about now, I could really use her advice.

The truth is, she's still there. Everyone at our age is stuck doing bullsh*t things they hate. While some may be luckier than others and are able to dodge the crap that life throws them, most of us aren’t. Some of us have to date a million losers to find one person worth sharing our lives with.

Some will have to have the oddest jobs with the weirdest bosses, working day in and day out until that one beautiful day where they find one they don’t merely like, but love.

Some of us have to do a million things that suck, that make us feel awkward and that worst of all, makes us second-guess what the hell we’re doing in this world.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re not doing it right or we're not living up to our potential. The fact that you even take the time to think about what you’re doing, where you want to go and why you're unhappy is a positive. It means that little girl or boy in you is still there and realizes that something has to change.

But most importantly, the ambitious, younger version of us wouldn’t be disappointed because we're not doing what we want; he or she would be disappointed if we got drowned out by the bullsh*t and gave up on what we really wanted.

Not everyone gets to travel the easy road to his or her dreams. Some of us will be forced to endure hell before we can see the hills, and get knocked down more times than imaginable. It's not fair, but it's life and most of the time, life is not easy.

For those people who get a free pass, their stories will never be as interesting, compelling and as damn truthful as the ones you will tell about your life. So remember, these next few years may be a hell of a lot harder, but it's up to you to fight through them.

You can still be an astronaut, a writer, a musician or a doctor. Don't settle for a mediocre life that can't even compete with the shadow of your dreams.

It's never too late to start doing what you want. You can't give up on yourself; you've got to fight until you are happy. That's all the little version of you was aiming for to begin with.

Photo via Tumblr