First things first:
• You don’t have to achieve great things by the time you’re 25.
• You have intrinsic value above and beyond your perceived utility to other people and society at large.
• You don’t have to have sex, or have sex in any way that you find uncomfortable or unpleasant, to keep anyone’s love or good opinion of you. They didn’t love you or think very well of you to start with if they demand it.
• You don’t have to stay with someone who isn’t meeting your emotional or sexual needs because they need you, or you’ve been with them for awhile, or you need to be in a relationship. You need you. Your time is your own and it is finite.
• It’s ok to work at a job you enjoy that doesn’t make you miserable even if it’s not a career and it won’t “lead to anything.”
• Your life is not a narrative. It is not leading to anything, there is no overarching thesis, it does not have themes beyond the usual shared cultural experiences of your time and place. This is ok. It does not mean that your life is without purpose or meaning.
• It’s ok not to like or get along with the vast majority of people you encounter, so long as you afford them the same respect, courtesy and dignity that they afford you.
• Failure is temporary if you’re still alive.
• People are both much better and much worse than you’d suspect, but usually not all at once.
• Stop thinking of your future self as a different person and it will be easier to prevent money and health problems.
• Let people help you, lean on them when you need to, and be available to help, but don’t swing too far in either direction. Try to carry your half of the life basket as evenly as you can.
• Set boundaries, and do not be afraid to kick people out of your life who disregard them. You will not end up alone and unloved. People who love you will be ok with your boundaries.
• Your power does not come from money or beauty, but from seeing life steadily and wholly, from a curious and thoughtful mind, and from your ability to say no when you want to, and yes when you want to, and I don’t know when you don’t know.
• There will be bad times, maybe lots of bad times, but not only bad times.
• Love will not heal the wounds in your soul, but love can give you the impetus to begin the work of healing yourself.
• Life might be a long series of starting over, and that’s alright.
• You’re really cool, you’re really beautiful, and you’re really special. Really. Not to everyone, but to a lot of someone’s sometimes.
It's okay to not have everything figured out by twenty-one. Hell, it's okay to never ever have everything figured out. Life is difficult, life is hard. Everyone deals with the struggles of life differently. But please, just because you don't do things quickly doesn't mean you're failing or doing things wrong, nor does it even mean you're not as fast as everyone else. Everyone goes at their own pace, and I'm pretty sure most people don't have every single little thing going perfectly and just as planned for them by twenty-one.
You can't go through life without failing, and that's okay. Failing means that we see what we don't have at the moment. It gives us the chance to stand every time we fall and get back up. And if you're struggling, it's okay to ask for help. In fact, that you've come admitting you're in a moment of weakness and you need help shows that you have courage and the drive to go on and become whoever it is you want to be. I'm proud of you.
I know life is rough. But you're not worthless, okay? It's okay to let things go, and it's okay to struggle. People who say 'happiness is a state of mind' and 'you have to want to be happy' have not experienced depression or other mental disorders. Sometimes life throws things at us that we can't stand by ourselves.
So, the first thing I want you to do is find a place where you can just let it all out. Get everything off your chest. Make sure you have a place like that you can go back to whenever you want. Then I want you to start planning. Set small goals for yourself. Not necessarily big ones, little ones you're willing to try to accomplish. Don't be discouraged if you don't achieve all your goals quickly. Every little thing means progress.
Also, think about all the people you’ve secretly had a crush on. All the people you’ve found attractive, but never said anything to. Every stranger you’ve temporarily fallen in love with on public transportation. All the people you’ve dreamt of and thought of in the early mornings.
And now take a moment to realize that you have been this person for so many people… and you have no idea.
And if you need it ...
You are a living, breathing organism that has somehow materialized out of time and space to have a chance at experiencing consciousness. To squander a life is to destroy the culmination of a lifetime of unique experiences, struggles, and memories. Death means a silenced voice. The end of a miracle. And that is a waste of something beautiful. Whatever you are feeling, it is temporary. Ending your life would be a tragedy, for there is no one who has ever been or ever will be like you.