Life Stories
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A Letter to my 21-year-old Self

Today is my 25th birthday.

In my current life, most of my immediate friends are in their 30’s (including my hubby) and life now, in no way, resembles how my life was as a 21-year-old.  See, I have been an avid journaler since my childhood years, so I have actual evidence of how much I have evolved as an individual since those truly carefree years. I once looked back at memories of my first 6 years in paradise as a college student and a single woman, and wished I had taken more time to be appreciative.  But now as an established and thankful 25-year-old wife and mommy, I have a few things to say to my former self…

Dear 21-Year-Old-Self:

You don’t know me yet, things are quite different now, but there are some things you outta know.

What you don’t realize yet is that ‘Year 21’ is the BIGGEST turning point within your adult life, so much happens and it’s not all pretty! Right now you are living in a little Hawaiian house with college roommates, and spend every weekend day at the beach, in the ocean or in the Hawaiian jungle, and the nights out on the town with your best girlfriends. You have made a career for yourself over the past year and can now start to afford the things that you always planned on providing for yourself.

But as you are celebrating your 21st birthday with a large group of friends during a super carefree four-day-weekend extravaganza in Waikiki (and all around O’ahu), you have no idea that the year ahead of you is about to change just about every aspect of your life and being.

Here are some things you really don’t know yet:

You don’t know what true, unconditional love is or what it really feels like. You won’t witness this for a couple of years, until you meet your first child, a beautiful babygirl.

On that same token, you have NO IDEA what REAL physical pain feels like either.  But don’t worry, after the few hours of natural labor/birthing, you will forget all about it once you lay eyes on Bella. And afterwards, you will possess a-whole-nother level of respect and admiration for your body and its’ capabilities.

You don’t know the ultimate commitment yet either, not until later this year when a friendship you have now, blossoms in to the most breathtaking relationship you could ever dream of, and you both decide to commit to spending forever with each other & get married this Spring!

What’s going to happen:

In a few months, your life will change in the biggest way possible. You will experience the worst day of your life (still is to this day). Your outlook on college/drinking-buddies/girlfriends, will perpetually change. You will realize that you truly cannot trust anyone beside yourself. You will witness a horrible act of cruelty done to you by a completely evil stranger, but don’t worry, your faith has never been stronger and you will act upon this violence to make a change for your community and other woman-survivors.

After this day, your friendships will forever change as well. You will decide to part ways with the majority of your college ‘friends’, and this will start your journey and relationship with yourself. You also will delete all forms of social media (sounds crazy, huh?) but don’t worry; in a few years you will rejoin and create a beautiful online platform to share your knowledge.

Most notably though, your faith will only continue to strengthen during this year. It will wake you up at 7 a.m. on Sundays to attend church by yourself, and even carry you to foreign, majestic, and far away countries (like Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and India) to further mold your ideas and continue your healing.

You will move out of your college home, and for the first time ever, you will live alone. Don’t worry, you still have a few trustworthy friends that you will go surfing with and occasionally have dinner with, but for the most part, you will be with yourself.  You will get to know every fault and every subconscious reflection within, and it will be the toughest, but vastly fruitful time in your life.

At a certain point in that journey, you will find a friendship blossoming into a remarkable romantic relationship, one in which you will be able to finally allow yourself to open up to this person, and the future will stem from that openness and genuity.

This all may paint a picture of a dark cloud, but the truth is, this year is a turning point and this is your wake-up call.  Reality starts knocking at the door, and you will answer with the most heartfelt confidence.  However, most people that you know will be living the life you have lived for the past 6 years, far out in to their twenties.  Don’t be discouraged, you have achieved a lot since you left home at 17, but at 25 you will be extremely proud of the woman, wife, and mother that you have become.  You will finish a second college degree and then mold the second part of your twenties around that accomplishment, as well as start to develop your two beautiful babies in to humble global citizens as well. The world awaits, and you will have three of the loveliest travel companions a girl could ever ask for.  So, buckle up!

x. Your 25-year-old Self






Tunic: C.lily Clothing
Crochet Barefoot Sandals: ljcdesigns





  1. Mary Nelson says

    Hi Heather, My sweet daughter. Happy 25th Birthday! It feels like yesterday dad & I held you for the first time, promising to always be there for you yet give you wings to be yourself. I am so proud of you, yoy are an amazing woman, wife and mommy. You make this world a better place. You are an amazing writer, you know how to help, encourage others to live a “Happy, Healthy Life” though your own experiences and by constantly learning. You are touching so many. God Bless you my sweet daughter. Love Mom


  2. Miriam Shimko says

    Happy birthday Heather! 😊 Reading your letter and seeing all your accomplishments is just so amazing too see and read. Your such a great example and an inspiration too women of all ages! I will never forget when you came over after we moved in Brett Street and you and Kristen became such great friends. All the fun times you girls had in our pool in the backyard. It was always so much fun having you over. You where always so thoughtful and kind to the girls and our family! Remember how people always thought you and Kristen were sisters, lol.😄. So proud too say I know you and your family. Such a wonderful, caring family. So very happy for your success, courage and wisdom. Thank you for caring so much and sharing your knowledge too all of us reader’s. Wishing you the very best in all that you do with your beautiful family, you truly deserve the very best! Love, Miriam 💕 💖


  3. urahman14 says

    I came back to read this today for several reasons. The most important one being that after a weekend of few events I realized that no one but me is in charge of my life and my decisions. You have always been a role model to me and a great friend. I love you so much and wish you the best in the year of 25. Thank you for always being an inspiration. 15 years we have known each other and though our friendship isn’t that of “best friends” You will always be close to my heart and in my prayers.



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