A letter to my 18-year-old self

Jessica Foumena
Posted July 16, 2017 from Cameroon
 A letter to my 18-year-old self

Dear Jessica,

Happy birthday! You just turn18 and your head is full of dreams. You wonder how you will realize these dreams by your 25th birthday. The age at which our society expects you to be married and to have your first child. You have seen numerous examples, making you feel that having a husband and raising his children is a woman's ultimate calling.

Now that you're 18, you're awoman. Now that you're 18, you feel pressure to get married and to have children by the age of 25. In fact, you and your friends have been having long conversations about the joy of being respectfully called 'Madam,' the white dress you will wear on the wedding day, and the beautiful life you will have with your respective future husbands.

Yes, marriage is a beautiful thing. Having a family is a noble dream to have. I share your excitement. I wish you to meet your prince charming. However, ifyou may not get married by the age of 25, don't blame yourself. Don't get married to someone at all costs because you think it's time, your friends are getting married, and/or your parents put pressure on you. It's not worth it. You may end up making the worst decision of your life. If it's meant to be, the right guy will come into your life at the right time.

Yes, some of your friends will get married and have children before you do. Familymembers will tease you about your singleness. Strangers will question you. Family and friends will offer their unwanted help. Some will tell you that you're too 'difficult,' and 'too picky.' The worst part is thatyour single male peers will never be called or treated that way. After all, they are men and they can get married anytime.

Yes, you will feel alone and lonely. You will cry. But don't worry. I've been there. Numerous times, I was teased for following my dreams. Family and friends questioned my singleness. I felt alone and lonely. But I never gave up on myself. I followed my dreams. I got my master's degree. I traveled. I became fluent in English. I loved. I laughed. And I keep working on my dream to become a leader for my country and my continent.

I know you love school very much. I know you want to get your master's degree before getting married. I know you want to travel and discover new places around the world. I know you want to be fluent in English. I know you want to be a leader.I know you want to make the world a better place.The best thing you can do to yourself right now is to enjoy your life fully.

So, follow YOUR dreams. Get your master's degree. Travel. Learn English. Love. Laugh. Become a leader. Live your life. It's SO worth it! You may end up making the BEST decision in your life! Through your different experiences, you'll know more about yourself, life and the world. Best yet, you'll become a great wife material! I promise!

Age is just a number. Don't let social expectations keep you from becoming the great woman you're called to be. Don't comprise your greatness for less. I see your future. You'll be a changemaker. Your story will be a source of inspiration to many girls who want to dream big and lead.

My dear, don't worry about not meeting the marriage 'deadline' of25. If it's meant to be, the right guy will come into your life at the right time. And together, you'll build the life of your dream.

This story was submitted in response to Aging.

Comments 4

Log in or register to post comments
maeann
Jul 16, 2017
Jul 16, 2017

Hi Jessica. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think the best thing to appreciate "age" is to know the purpose of your life being a woman with dreams and a woman of influence. Soar High :)

Jessica Foumena
Jul 17, 2017
Jul 17, 2017

Thank you Maeen for your words of encouragement. You summarized well the letter. Being a woman of purpose is the best gift a woman can do to herself. 

Enmita Marin
Sep 26, 2017
Sep 26, 2017

Hi Jessica, is powerfull the message of your words and how you can imagine how many golds can reach at 18 years olds. Aging is just a process in life and give the opportunity of learn and become more stronger and smart. I think if i have to write a letter to my young 18 years old, my letter will say the same as yours. 

Congrats sister. Keep sharing with us. 

Jessica Foumena
Sep 26, 2017
Sep 26, 2017

Thank you Enma for your kind words! I appreciate to knowyou found my message 'powerful' and you agree with the content. It means a lot to me. Thank you again! All the best on your end!