The Young Professional Woman
Dr. Kym is one of several contributing authors to The Young Professional Woman. She shares her insights in Chapter 4.
Chapter 4: Lessons from the Future – A Letter to My 25-year-old Self (An Excerpt)
I have learned that reflection is a powerful thing. I do not take enough time for it because life is so busy. I had an inkling of what the future had in store, but could never have imagined all the twists and turns life would take. I would like to share some insights with you.
I know that twenty-five was the magic number for you. Your expectations about what you would have accomplished were high and now that you are at that milestone, you are disappointed in yourself. All you have to show for your efforts at this point is a nice car, a great wardrobe, and a lot of debt. This is not how you envisioned the big two-five. Please know that this is actually a time to celebrate because what you are feeling in this moment will influence your decisions and actions for the next twenty-five years. Now seems like an apropos time to offer a bit of encouragement as you begin to recalibrate and set a course for the future. What you are feeling will fuel behavior that is goal driven and you, my dear, will achieve every goal that you set. My advice, aim high! You will experience challenges and learn lessons along the way that will inform your thinking and your choices. You will also experience much success. I am here to tell you that everything will be fine, so exhale and relax.
Having the hindsight that you could not possibly have, I want to share a few lessons that you will learn along the way. I know you well enough to know that initially you will not consider this advice seriously. I also know that at some point this letter will become a frequent reference point. Therefore, I will begin with this, “be kind to yourself.” Know that you are intelligent and capable. Some things will require a bit more effort on your part, but your natural ability to excel will always win out. Replace the negative self-talk with words that encourage and fortify you. Life is a dance Kim; choose the moves that work for you.
People will come into your life and influence your view of the world, some for a season and others for a lifetime. There will be a man with whom you will fall deeply in love. This man will teach you what it means to be strong, a quality you will demonstrate throughout your life. Although his presence will be for a season, his impact will last a lifetime. His death will motivate you to move outside of your comfort zone, try new things, and take some risks because life is short.
You are resilient Kim. You will fall down, but rise with speed and grace. Others will admire this about you. Keep in mind that as important as it is to rebound, it is crucial that you address the issues that led to the fall. Do not allow your desire to “keep it moving” prevent you from addressing unresolved issues and conflict. It will be uncomfortable and awkward to deal with issues that make you feel vulnerable, but do not let those feelings stop you from facing the hard stuff head on. In the absence of resolve, issues will resurface. Resolving issues when they emerge will build skills you will need later when there is much more at stake.
Kim, right now, you do not understand the strength of your presence. Over the next few years, you will get glimpses of it and not recognize it for what it is. Make no mistake; your presence is an asset. However, it will intimidate some people. When you hear that for the first time, you will be stunned. The strength of your presence will flavor your interactions with others all of your life. Knowing this now will help you manage it later. Dial back on your intensity and allow others to see your lighter side. Be intentional about letting people get to know you. Share more of yourself. You will learn along the way, that life just “ain’t that serious.” With that said, do not shrink so that those around you will be secure. Do not pick-up the baggage of others and make it yours. I want you to emerge as a woman who is comfortable with herself and unapologetic for who she is.