Dear five-year old me,
I know you’re a little busy worrying about five-year old things, but there are some things about life that I need you to know:
You won’t be a princess forever.
You may be one now, but that will change. You will trade your dresses, barbies and bows for athletic clothes and hiking gear. You will get dirty (on purpose). You will collect rocks (for fun). You will travel to Peru, Kenya, Tanzania and Nepal to explore, hike and (gasp) venture into the no-shower world. Being a princess is cool for now, but you’re going to grow up to be one bad-ass chick who’s not afraid to take on a historically male-dominated field. Oh, and you’ll be surrounded by lots of other badass ladies while you do it. (Sorry about the swearing… don’t tell Mom).
You will always be terrified of snakes.
But you will find things that are much more terrifying. And one of those things will shape your whole future. Let yourself be afraid, because it will drive you to understand things that you never thought you could.
People won’t always be nice to you.
You will have “friends” that make fun of you for being quiet, “friends” that laugh at your book-obsession and nerdiness, and even “friends” who joke that you’re a waste of space. But they’re not your friends. And it will get better. You’re an introvert and always will be, but there are people out there who will appreciate you for who you are not who they want you to be. Never, NEVER let anyone push you around. You’re better than that, and you’re better than them.
You will fail.
And you will get up and start again. And then you will fail again. Life is full of failures, but how you handle those failures will shape who you become. Don’t be afraid to fail. Let yourself cry. Let yourself be sad. But damnit, pick yourself up and try and try again.
You’re going to grow up to study some pretty important things.
Don’t give up on science, even when others try to steer you away. Your knack for science is a gift few have, so don’t you dare waste it. Learn all the things you can. Take all the classes you want. Let travel teach you things home never can. Never forget where you came from — your obsession with marine biology and your summers at the beach will greatly shape the scientist that you become.
Twenty five-year-old you