Dear 23-year-old-me

This letter is a long time coming. I think about you all the time and wonder all the things 18-year-old us could've done differently to save you from the past 4 years. I know you feel as though your entire world has shattered, but trust me when I say it's only the beginning. Sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things.

Don't get me wrong, it won't be all rainbows and butterflies, but it's going to feel immensely better than it has been. You can't see it now, but one day, you will connect the dots back to this moment and you'll wonder how you triumphed. How despite all odds, you've become the woman we are today.

You're going to have many work experiences throughout the next couple years. Make the most of all of them. They play an immense role in the person you become professionally.  Some of them will test you, but they will only continue to drive you to be an even better version of yourself every day. In just two short years, you'll find yourself choosing between graduate programs, because you've finally applied and been accepted, and then you're going to get out of Utah, just like you've always imagined.

You'll fall in love with your best friend. No spoilers, but love will come when you least expect it. It will change your life. It's a love you can't quite describe until happens to you. As cliche as it sounds, one day you will wake up and without realizing how or when, you're in love like you've never been before. For now, focus on loving yourself and learning to be the strong individual we both know you are.

Forgiveness is a gift and not every one deserves it. But you owe it to yourself. It won't be happen overnight or even months. It takes years and you will work at it everyday. We are still working on it, but I think we're getting close. Forgiveness isn't for him, it's for us.

Anything else? Spend more time with the dog. You'll miss the days you're away from him.

There are deceitful people in this world. Do not let your anger overshadow your grace.

Exercise plenty.  Your metabolism won't always be like this.