I found this story via a good friend on Facebook. Cassie Boorn sent out calls to older women to write letters to their twenty year old selves. Some highlights were then posted on Mental Floss:

  • “Speaking of money, way to not have a credit card yet, that is a good move. Although, seriously: you have no concept of managing money in any kind of real way. That’s going to suck in a few years when you do get a credit card, and aren’t as good as you should be about paying off the balance.”
  • “You look like a damn model. Enjoy that concave stomach and stop being self-conscious about your body.”
  • “As for prince charming, thanks for believing that he exists. When you meet him, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t appear to be much more than a friend at first.”
  • “You didn’t develop your character because you did everything right. As that rickety old woman told once you,flowers grow in the valley, not the mountaintop. And you have to walk through the valley to get back up there.”

All of them, pearls of wisdom, my friends. I have so much to say to my 20 year-old self. I realized, though, that saying it is one thing. Hearing it at 20 is a whole different thing. Imagine, for instance, what Lindsay Lohan has been hearing from people, and how she’ll look back on her 20s. What we don’t realize as young women is that there is time ahead for the things we seem to want now. We also don’t appreciate what we have. So I wanted to write a letter to see what would come out, knowing that I probably wouldn’t have listened back then. Because, you know, we all knew everything already, right?

Here is a pic of me around that age:

Dear 20 year old Sasha:

You will never have this much energy again in your life. Do not fret your thighs. Do not fret your face. It isn’t perfect but perfection is over-rated. You have youth on your side. Enjoy every imperfect minute of it. Do not waste time trying to lose five pounds. Stop fretting that you look fat in those jeans. You don’t. As my friend Emily used to say, “You look spectacular.” And trust me, if you could see what I see now you would agree.

It’s okay that you’re studying acting – it will help you later in all sorts of ways. When you go to NYU, make sure you check your financial aid paperwork. And guess what? You don’t have to starve for a whole semester. Your meal plan will be INCLUDED! So now you won’t have to find out at the end of the year that you could have been eating in the dining hall all of this time! Do not drop out of NYU. Stay at least a year.

Don’t grouse about being 24 when the rest of your classmates are 19. YOU’RE 24! That is SO YOUNG! And remember, those older guys who want to get into your pants – they don’t have your best interests at heart. Stop searching for love as if it meant everything. Everything else meant everything. Love will wait.

Don’t be afraid of being good at stuff. You will be nervous in writing class and embarrassed when people think your writing is good. But stick with it. Work hard. There is nothing silly about what you will be doing.

Do not take French, take Spanish. You have no idea how important that will be.

When you find yourself back in Los Angeles and in therapy (good move on that one), definitely stick with the UCLA plan and graduate, as you did. But major in something other than theater. Try business or economics or urban planning or even art history. There are so many better ways to spend your time at college than pursuing something that you don’t even need to go to school for in the first place.

DO NOT TAKE OUT STUDENT LOANS. You are selling your soul to the devil when you do. No one should ever have to take out student loans in order to study film or art or writing. There is no worse way to ruin your future. Take out loans only if you have a viable career plan after college so that you can pay them back. But my advice to you is to never take them out to begin with.

Be more responsible with money. Don’t get so many parking tickets.

That guy you meet in the Irish pub? He will try to date rape you. That really hot guy you meet at work who makes you laugh? He has a girlfriend. And by the time he leaves his girlfriend he’ll come looking for you. But you can’t trust him.

When you are accepted to graduate film school at Columbia University, opt out. Do not attend such an expensive school because you simply couldn’t afford it. Moreover, you didn’t need to go there at all to study what you were studying. Grad school locally is a better idea. But skip film school. Study law or psychology or education. Get a solid foundation for a more stable future.

Finally, because after Columbia I don’t have any more advice for you. I’m proud of what you’ve done, where you’ve gone, whom you’ve become. But there is one very very important thing to know: be wary of your willingness to drop everything for a guy. There will be one guy you will meet much later in life — he’ll be British and he’ll be a deceptive person. Do not go on a second date with him. Just move on.

Oh, and p.s. date the guys who are nice and boring rather than the ones who are exciting and careless. You will thank me later.

Love, 45 year-old Sasha