A decade ago, my 19-year-old self was hopelessly lost. I'd dropped out of college twice; I was desperately bored and sad; and more than anything I just wanted to believe that I was a grown-up when I felt anything but.
Today, I feel grown up (most of the time); I'm happy and fulfilled. And sometimes (often lately, for some reason) I daydream about going back to late 2002 and explaining to then-Heidi that everything turns out A-OK, that if you follow your own dreams and idea of success, you'll get there.
I spent that time in my life questioning whether I was making the right decisions, even though many people around me didn't think I was. But I did what I felt like I needed to do. I was selfish, and I found my personal passions — even if that took trying four different colleges. I made lots of dumb mistakes (sorry, Mom) that took me to precarious places. I'm not exactly proud of everything I did, but I don't regret it either.
Those decisions put me on course to become who I am today. I
want to give 19-year-old me a big hug, show her pictures of my wedding, my awesome group of friends, and my byline in the newspaper and say, "See, it all turns out."
But I also want to thank her for daring to go against what was expected of her to find what she really wanted — a creative job and life. I have very few regrets looking back, and that's because I've largely followed my internal compass, picking up external pieces of good advice from some very smart people. Surround yourself with those people, but if their guidance doesn't right true, it isn't what you should do. Listen to that almost-adult inside of you. She's smarter than you think.
So silly, lost, confused 19-year-old me, thank you. You're doing awesome.