In honor of my 27th birthday, I decided to write a letter to myself at the age of 17.

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Hey Kandice,

You’re about to start college in a couple of months. This isn’t your dream school, but you’re going to make the best of it and you’re going to graduate on time. I want to let you know that you’ll forfeit your scholarship a few years later to preserve your mental health, and you also don’t like your scholarship advisor. You’re in a relationship with someone who isn’t very faithful, but unfortunately he will not be the last person to cheat on you. However, he teaches you how to advocate for yourself in the relationships you’ll be having with a few more people in the years to come. Right now, the world is a pretty scary place. People are having untimely deaths and compromised immune systems due to this virus that started somewhere in China. Despite what’s going on, you have just recently moved into a new apartment that you’re able to afford because you work at a local news station in North Carolina (yes, you’ve somehow made your way back to that state).

You feel sorta stuck in this apartment because you’re much more confident now and you like moving and making decisions freely, and you can’t really do that right now. Your friends and family are proud of where you are currently in life, but you’re still learning how to not to be so hard on yourself. You don’t really like it, but you’re getting a ton of rest in this apartment.

I want to let you know that you’re still very beautiful and you’re a huge flirt. You no longer drive your current Toyota, but you end up buying a newer one with a blinged out steering wheel that is inspired by a rapper named Saweetie. You’re in love with your best friend right now, and he makes you extremely happy and sad, but you’re being open and vulnerable for the first time in four years. He brings that out of you, and he’ll bring so many more great things out of you when you meet him two years from now.

Your relationship with God is the best it’s ever been. You talk to him all day everyday. You think about having a teen Sunday school class one of these days, but your bible knowledge isn’t the greatest and every night you commit to learning a new story. You currently hate going to church every Sunday, but this doesn’t change. You somehow find a church home online (no worries you’re not being lazy, this concept becomes quite common now).

Monique, Shamara and the crew are still your friends. Some of them have children, and it might bother you a bit that you haven’t started a family yet, but you meet two girls from South Carolina named Tierra and Romissa whose lives inspire you in a way where not having a family doesn’t bother you so much. Right now you’re probably thinking your life will be all figured out, but I want to let you know that you’ll still be winging it at 27. In fact, the economy and the job market is a piece of shit right now, so bad that it’ll have you questioning why you pursued a degree in journalism.

Your mom and P are no longer together, but you still have a relationship with them separately. Their split will happen around a time in your life when you need them the most, but they won’t be available emotionally. Don’t take this personally because you’ll be starting your first job out of college around that time. Their split will make you extremely independent.

If I could give you any advice right now, I’ll tell you to not overthink and to not wonder if you’ll ever be successful. I’ll also tell you to not think you’ll be with anyone you’ve dated for the rest of your life. Somehow along the way commitment will scare you. All of things that you want right now will be given to you over a course of several years, even if it does seem like the people around you are getting it much sooner. You’ll soon learn that most of the people you look to for validation aren’t happy.

It’s kinda late, and you’ve become a heavy tea drinker to build up your immune system, so you’re going to have a few cups before bed. You’ve also lost a substantial amount of weight so you’re trying not to drink as much (even though the guy you’re seeing is going to try to get you to live a little on your birthday). I’ll leave you here. You’re going to be fine, cheer up!

Happy Birthday!

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Consider this a tough love diary to myself for you all.

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