turning 25 | letter to my younger self

dear catherine,

today you turn 25. you probably assumed that by this point you’d have all of your shit together. i regret to inform you that that’s absolutely not the case, but the weird thing is that it’s okay.

at some point in your quarter century on earth, you implicitly adopted a growth mindset when you started a blog called “never stationary”, fascinated by the idea that you’re constantly evolving and growing and changing.

i’m writing this letter to confirm that that doesn’t magically stop when you become an adult. apparently, just because you have cellulite and small eye wrinkles and mild heartburn doesn’t mean you magically figure out your life’s purpose.

i wanted to make sure that you heard a couple of important things from me.

first, learn and practice gratitude.
i’m grateful to have been able to make some incredible memories. grateful to have built a tight community of people who lift me up and inspire me to be better.

i’m grateful for the highs – feeling young and invincible, not caring what i might look like or what anyone thinks of me.

i’m grateful for the lows – they’ve taught me retroactively how to deal with life’s inevitable challenges, how to move on, how to heal.

i’m 25 now, and learning to accept that life only moves forward. it sounds cheesy, but i’m slowly learning to be grateful for each and every day. grateful to be alive. grateful to be healthy.

second, be open to embracing your culture. at some point society will point out to you that you are different than the majority. then you’ll try to mold and contort to fit in and assimilate. it will feel for a little while that it’s working but you’ll face your first identity crisis. it will pass.

eventually you’ll come to be proud of your background. you’ll start seeking out and making more friends that respect and understand your culture. it will become an ongoing discussion and exploration of how you fit into with your Asian American identity. and also, chili crisp and tofu will become mainstream.

third, work on building good habits – as the years go by you’ll slowly start to realize how your daily habits compound and either lift you up or pull you down. sleep, eating, who you talk to, what content you consume, the thoughts you repeat to yourself day in and day out.

there will be periods where you turn to unhealthy measures to cope with stress and anxiety. you’ll come to rely on them and have to recognize the terrible habits you’re setting up for yourself and have to put all of your effort in to break them.

oh, and when you’re 23 a global pandemic will start, you’ll turn 24 in quarantine. that year in particular will reinforce the importance of daily habits in keeping you sane and healthy – like journaling, calling your friends and family, taking walks, eating healthy

finally- try not to compare yourself to those around you. especially this day and age where everything is online and you view your community not through a realistic lens but through curated feeds and filters. social media shows us such a distorted view of the world and our friends and acquaintances that you can’t help but compare your imperfect life to what you see online.
news flash – everyone is on their own journey and no one is following along the same timeline. what works for someone else may not work for you. as life goes on, you and your friends paths will continue to diverge
at the end of the day, the thing that matters the most is that you’re happy with the life you built.

turning 25 is no small feat. you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, but more importantly, the person that you’ve become. keep kicking ass, my friend.

One comment

  1. mebeki

    I remember first reading your blog one million years ago. I thought you were so cool and talented. I still think so! I’m 26 now, and this really hit me hard. Growing up is weird and terrible but also amazing and exciting and we’re all so lucky we get to do it. Anyway, hi lol


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