Recently, it was my birthday, and I took the time to reflect on what has happened in my life in the past ten years. A decade ago, I came to New York City with only $200 in my pocket, clueless for what would happen next and no idea of how I was going to make a living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. This giant city was intimidating, but at the same time filled with big opportunities. Looking back at that time, all I knew was that I wanted a change in my life and the question was if not now, then when? That innocent decision had led me to where I am today. I am lucky to say that I not only found a place called home but also found my passion in the industry I like most. Today I get to wake up and run ModaBox, an online personalized shopping service that I started more than two years ago. Through this, I have made many mistakes and learned a few valuable things along the way. I decided to write this letter to reflect and encourage you to not be so hard on your younger self.
Dear Younger Monica,
We just celebrated our birthday, and I wanted to take this time to share a few things with you. I know some of this will sound crazy, but bear with me!
First, just breathe and know that everything will be okay. I know that at your age every problem feels like it is going to be the end of the world. You spend some nights awake until 4 am wondering how things will work out. But, you need to ask yourself, “will any of this really be important three years from now?”. The answer is no; despite what you may think, later in life none of these problems will matter. Relax and remember that you are still young and have your whole life ahead of you. As you get older, unfortunately, adult problems only get bigger and more complicated. But, it opens your eyes to just how silly and simple your problems were when you were younger. I know that right now you are feeling lost and unsure of a lot of things. But just breathe and take life one step at a time. Enjoy your youth and try not to spend all your time worrying about the little things, but remember to live a life with purpose.
Second, you are allowed to have flaws. I know that when you are young, you have all these idols that seemed to be perfect. But these women are ten years older than you and have already made mistakes in their lives that made them who they are today. It is okay to make mistakes and to have flaws. The decisions you make in life will shape you into the person that you are meant to be. Do not be afraid just to seize any opportunity that life gives you because with each mistake and tough decision you gain confidence and the strength to discover your full potential. In a few years, you will make so many great accomplishments and realize that sky is the limit. Be fearless, be curious, and embrace the mistakes you make along the way. Now is the time to explore and leave your comfort zone without worrying about the opinions of others. I know you are scared but with every step and chance you take, you are growing into the person you are meant to be.
Finally, be grateful; be grateful for where you are right now and all that you have accomplished. Coming to New York City with only $200 in your pocket jobless was not an easy thing to do, but you trusted yourself and did it anyway. You did it because you knew you needed a change in your life and you were ready for something bigger than yourself. This alone took a lot of courage and is something that you should be very proud of. You will reach a certain point in your life when you look back and realize that everything you did made you into the person you are today. And if I do say so myself, I am proud of who we became. At the moment, every step seems small and insignificant, but every decision you made put you on the path that you are on today. So, be grateful for your innocent beliefs, the people you meet, the opportunities that are given, the mistakes you make, and most importantly for everything that you have already accomplished. Be grateful for who you are today because what you have accomplished is just a scratch on the surface, giving you a glimpse of the person I know you will become.
Younger Monica, life can be scary at times and leave you feeling insecure. Your journey will not always be the easiest, and at times you will feel like giving up. But trust yourself and your inner voice because as I have said before, everything will be okay. Live your life fearlessly and curiously because it is the only one you have.
Wishing You All the Best,
Your biggest fan Monica