The year was 1987… I was 25. For the first time recorded in history, working women earned 70% as much as working men—a rise from 62.5% just 10 years prior. I was just beginning to scratch the surface of my life and career. I was admitted to the New York State bar and was working as a prosecutor with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York. It was an exciting time.
In many ways, the world was so different back then—but also the same. There weren’t smartphones or social media, but we were always connected. It was a time of expression, activism and creative freedom. Although I still have nightmares of those god-awful shoulder pads and eyebrows that still make me cringe, the 80s were dressed in art, culture and innovations that shaped our future.
As I celebrate my 54th year on earth, I look back at my life and I realize how far I’ve come—never regretting, but reflecting on every decision, every step, every day that has led me to this moment. I often wonder what advice I would give to my younger self if I could… and it would probably go something like this:
Dear Me… at Twenty-Five,
I am so proud of you. Look how far you’ve come. From the little wanna-be lawyer girl in the living room holding mock trials to a real-life, accomplished, educated, empowered woman living her dreams and taking names.
Breathe it all in, but don’t let the mountains of pressure and expectations devour you. This is your life—the only one you have. Take care of yourself mentally, spiritually and physically.
Listen to your heart—really, listen to your actual heart. Pay attention to what it’s telling you. And I say this with the utmost urgency. Make your health a priority right now! Believe me, I know you’re busy and young, but you’re not invincible. Eat right, get your butt up and exercise, girl… make healthy choices because the world won’t be the same without you in it.
Listen to the people who know you best. The ones who sincerely have faith in your potential and want to see you succeed. Find your voice, embrace your purpose and stand for what you believe in. Never let anyone or anything stop you from growing or doing what is best for you. There will be those who want to bring you down with their words, but the power lies in why, how and when you use yours. You’ll learn that sometimes considered silence is the best response to ignorance.
Accept the fact that God has a plan for you. You may not know what it is yet, but you know you have work to do. Don’t be afraid of the setbacks, mistakes and discomfitures that knock you down. Your strength, passion and hard work will raise you up and your accomplishments will never go unnoticed.
Live a life you love and embrace the incredible journey. There may be things you wish you would have done differently, but your resolution lies within. Love yourself first and the rest will fall into place.
Make time for family and friends. Surround yourself with good people and unforgettable moments—and let me just say, you’re going to have some truly unforgettable moments!
Network, network, network! You’ll see that every encounter can offer new perspectives and invaluable opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
Be a person who inspires others. Find where your gifts fit a need in the world and pay it forward. You’ll find that life is more fulfilling when you are truly making a difference in the world.
Oh, and listen to Mom. You know it. I know it. She’s always going to be right… just sayin’.
Now go enjoy the ride. It’s about to get so good… We got this!
Your Future Self xoxo
We want to hear from you! What would you like to tell your younger self? Share your comments below.