A Letter From My Younger Self

Javacia Feb 15Never stop being a girl.

By Javacia Harris Bowser


Dear Javacia,

This month you’ll be 34 years old, and I know you have mixed feelings about this. A part of you is excited. You’re actually looking forward to turning 40 one day and this month’s birthday just means you’re a year closer to that age you deem so magical.

But a part of you feels discouraged because you haven’t accomplished all the goals you set for yourself when you were my age. You constantly waver between feeling like you’re not a real adult because you don’t own a house or fine china and feeling like you’re too much of an adult to still chase your dreams.

I’m writing to you today with one simple piece of advice: Never stop being a girl.

The world tells you not to be a girl. Don’t be so emotional, they say. Don’t daydream. Stop believing in the impossible. Be more practical. And yet the world also tells you to act like a lady, to stay in your place. Don’t be too ambitious, they say.

But again, I say never stop being a girl.

Do you remember how much you loved sitting in your room reading and writing and listening to music for hours on end? You immersed yourself in art, and you wrote not for a paycheck but simply because you couldn’t help yourself. Go back to that. Write for writing’s sake and all those magazine gigs you dream about will be yours.

Do you remember how you loved to watch cars zoom down the freeway and planes fly in the sky? They reminded you of all the cities to which you wanted to travel, all the places you longed to see. Bring back your wanderlust. If you truly want to travel, you will find a way. When you were younger, you were so eager to see the world beyond Birmingham. And you did. You joined every extracurricular program you could and through them took your first trips to Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. You even snagged a free trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Do you remember how big your heart once was? You were the girl who did anything for her best friends and never thought once about what they could do for her in return. Return to that, and you will have the relationships that you desire.

Do you remember how big your dreams once were? There was a time when you wanted to be the president of the United States! I’m not saying you need to launch a campaign to take you to the White House. I know politics aren’t your favorite. But what I am saying is that you need to embrace your audacious aspirations once again.

You look forward to turning 40 because you believe aging is about becoming more of your authentic self. You think that once you’ve been on this planet for four decades you’ll finally, suddenly know the real you. But you and your authentic self are already acquainted. She’s that fierce and fearless girl who climbed trees higher than any boy in the neighborhood. She’s the girl who ran fast, fell hard, and got back up to run some more. She’s that girl who believed any “no” could be turned into a “yes.” She’s that girl who never saw her lack of resources as a roadblock but simply as something that would make the journey more interesting.

Be the girl you used to be, and you will transform into the woman you were meant to become.



2 Responses to “A Letter From My Younger Self”

  1. Annemarie Gray says:


  2. Elaine Williams says:

    Thanks for a wonderful post. Perfect.

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