I see you there in your dorm room on your 21st birthday. I see you struggling to finish that screenplay for screenwriting class. I see you saying that you'll drink legally some other time when your screenplay is done. I see you, serious driven you, and I think you're awesome. I have some other things to tell you too.
It's okay, Jen, it will all be okay.
Okay, some of it will suck, but that's okay. You will still be standing at 42. I know. I'm you at 42 writing this on my 42nd birthday. We're not much different except I have a few more grey hairs, some tiny scars, and I finally got the wisdom teeth out. You won't get over your dental fear by the way, but when you finally get the teeth out, it will not be as painful as you imagined.
I could tell you not to do something or to do something, but I know your stubborn self all too well. You won't listen. I'll tell you not to buy that green dress, but you'll be in the store and think, oh she couldn't have meant this green dress, it's so cute. Don't buy it, Jen. You'll never wear it. Or buy it and stare at it in your closet for a decade because you can't throw it out because it's so cute.
Here's another bit of advice which I'm sure you won't listen to. Don't dye your hair red. I know you love dying it blonde. Just stay away from red. You don't look good as a red head.
You will be friends at 42 with some of the people you are friends with now. Yeah, cool right? As for your love life, you will meet some great guys and some jerkuses. I won't name names. I don't want to spoil the fun.
I'm sorry to tell you this, but I think you kind of know it already. You will not be the next Steven Spielberg. One Spielberg is enough. I know you've had the Spielberg dream since you were eleven, but you're gonna see other films and have new dreams. Instead of the next Spielberg, you'll be the next Jen or the first Jen or some Jen. You loved writing that screenplay on your 21st birthday, didn't you? You really loved writing it. You will write more stuff. You will write stuff you didn't know you could write. You can do it, Jen, you can write the shit out of whatever you set your mind to.
And you will travel. You will go to Paris. You will go to places you haven't even dreamed of yet. You know how you like to walk from Washington Square all the way up to Harlem? Well Jen, you will walk a long long way, and you will keep walking.
Sometimes you will have to walk away from something. Sometimes you will have to stand and fight. You will become a better fighter. You will learn to hold the center of the ring. The boxing metaphor will make sense in ten years.
Remember in the first grade when the nun said you had a bad temper? Well Jen, you do have a bad temper, and I'm gonna tell ya, you can't let it fester inside you. There will be times when you will want to get mad. Let yourself get mad. You're allowed to be mad. When you're mad, you don't have to yell, scream, or throw a temper tantrum. But let yourself be mad even if you're only mad for a second.
I will also tell you to trust the love. I'm not talking about that cute guy you have a crush on. I'm talking about the love you have in you that can manifest itself in ways you haven't discovered yet.
There will be some bad times. There will be times when things seem terribly unfair. There will be times when you will fuck up---not in a bad someone getting killed or ending up in jail way. Don't let the fuck ups fester in you. Be gracious, be kind, keep going.
Don't stress out about your smoking habit. You will quit smoking. You will find something else (I won't say what that something else is, but it's really cool), and you won't need the smokes anymore.
There will be new Star Wars movies, and they will suck. I know, you'll have to see them because they're Star Wars. Just know, they will suck. But the Lord of the Rings movies will be cool.
I'm not gonna tell you if your beloved Cleveland Indians win the World Series or not. I think you have to experience that without knowing the outcome.
Remember in baseball, if a batter is hitting .300, he's only hitting the ball three out of ten times. You won't bat a thousand in the next twenty-one years, but the hits you get will be excellent.