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A Birthday Letter

When I was in high school, I used to wonder what it'd be like when I was 24.

Where would I be living? Would I be doing what I love? Would I be in a relationship? Would I be proud of what I accomplished? Would my life be better then than now? Would I have this? Would I have that? What kind of person would I be? 

Some of many burning questions wanting answers as a teenager, not knowing what else was out there for me. I sometimes look back and laugh, thinking that I really thought I'd have it all figured out at the age of 24 and beyond. Hah. I wish. But as I get older, and as birthdays roll around every year, I start to panic with where I'm at, and what I need to do to get to where I want to be. And the pressure comes from these moments where I feel like I'm not living up to my own standards. The ones I placed so high as a teenager, I almost feel hopeless to think I'll ever reach them. 

But if there's anything I've learned this year (and I say this year, metaphorically-speaking, my year as a 23-year-old), it's to understand that change is inevitable. What I think of now, may not be what I think of then in a couple of months from now. And since we are constantly changing as people, I wanted to write a letter to remind myself that even if there are changes in my life where I can't accomplish everything I want to, I will always be proud of the person that I have become. 

Dear Grace,

you've done it. 
You've moved to New York City. The place you've always wanted to call home ever since you were in middle school. Remember those middle school days where you used to collect fashion sketches and magazines because you dreamed of working in fashion? Fast forward to post-grad life where you've lived by yourself for two years, and as a 23-year-old... you really don't give yourself enough credit for that. You were accepted into the school of your dreams -- UNC-Chapel Hill -- and even though those four years weren't as easy as you'd imagine it to be, you've learned a lot of valuable lessons from all the experiences and people you've encountered along the way. Each year, you thought it'd get easier. It never did -- but you did. And that's what matters most. You learned so much about yourself that senior year of college, and how all the hardships and struggles you were dealing with were to show you how strong you were. How strong you ARE. But guess what? It doesn't just stop there. You took on one of the biggest challenges you've faced in your life -- living alone, trying to be financially-independent and taking a leap of faith with a career you never thought would be possible for you -- in New York City.

Full-time blogging was not what you expected it to be. 
There were more downs than ups. But that didn't stop you.
You kept going through it all. You were your own worst critic. Your own worst enemy, and as days went on and on, you craved that feeling of success with your own career. Even to the point where it angered you, frustrated you, and stressed you out. You met someone. And had to deal with a lot of emotions in the process of it all. You were learning, growing, and understanding what a relationship meant to you. You were excited about a travel collaboration to Paris, and even though you were in a beautiful country with the most incredible architecture, you were stressing about everything that was happening back home. But you learned to let that go the third or fourth day you arrived. Because that is who you are. You don't stop when someone tells you you can't do something. You don't cry and give in when someone makes you feel like you're not good enough. And you certainly don't quit when situations get tough.
You take it as a challenge to better yourself. For you. Not for anyone else.

You've learned the importance of self-worth. Self-care. And how valuable that is, and how anyone who doesn't value that...doesn't deserve you. You've learned to let go of people who aren't helping you. The toxic ones that just hurt you. 

I'm proud of how strong you've become after all that you've gone through. As if those battles are far from over... but just as a way to emphasize that you've grown stronger as a person, and each and every time, you've learned how to deal and handle whatever life throws at you. And I'm so proud that you're not giving up on something that you so badly want. Knowing that it's going to take time to build it. Knowing that the timing isn't right. Knowing that what you want right now... isn't going to happen right now. 

But more importantly, I want you to be more in the moment.
Appreciate more. Love more. And not be a perfectionist about everything.

Everything is going to be okay, and I want to remind you of that each and every day.

Don't ever give up.
The right people will be come.
There will be someone out there who loves you... for you. Don't give up on that either.
The right situations will happen at the right time.

And you will never ever forget what it took to get there.

Happy Birthday.

Wearing: dress | earrings | Zara heels (old, but similar here) | 


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