I bet thirty years old seems like such an old age. I bet thirty-one seems even older. I write this letter to you after over thirty years of life experiences, of heart aches and challenges and joy. I hope you will take this advice and carry it with you throughout the next twenty-one years. Trust me, you'll need it. So here goes nothing...
Try not to let the body image issues you have in your head right now control your life. There will come a time when you have to be comfortable in your own skin. Comparing yourself to other women who are thinner than you, prettier than you, etc., won't do you any good. You're beautiful just the way you are. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
You're going to think your first love you have is "the one." High school love is nowhere near the kind of love you will experience with "the one." You'll have your heart broken, and each time it will feel like the end of the world. Trust me, it's not. This, too, shall pass. Each time it happens, you will have a harder time trusting others. Try to not let that happen. You'll get to the point where you feel you will never find that person who makes you complete. Each year that goes by, you will wonder when it will ever be your turn. You will lose yourself along the way, but you will find that one person who will help you find yourself again. He'll help you forgive yourself and forgive others. He will put the pieces back together, and any hurt you had in the past will fall away. You'll learn what true love really is, and the love you share with this person will make any past resentments or hurt you have fall away. Just because you don't find this person when you think you should doesn't mean it will never happen. Have patience. God does have a plan for you.
Speaking of boys, when you are in college, try to have fun with your friends and enjoy the experience. Don't squander away those four years worrying about guys. All it will do is make you regret those parts of that experience you'll miss out on. It's not worth it. Those four years are meant for exploration, for finding yourself, for having fun. You can't go back so make the very best of the experience.
You think you know what you want to do with your career now, but that will change just a bit. You'll find that you are drawn towards a career that seems so out of your comfort zone. You will develop a confidence you didn't think was possible. And you'll be in charge of yourself. It's hard to see that now, but you have no idea what your future has in store for you. Don't give up on your dreams.
You will have children. At this point, I just know of one. But your heart condition will not be a hindrance keeping you from having a baby of your own. I know you hold that fear in the back of your mind. That fear doesn't go away. It won't be easy, but your heart is strong. And you are strong. And you will bring a life into the world that will change your own life forever in ways you cannot even dream.
Take care of yourself. I know in the back of your mind you have your health as a concern. Your physical health and your heart is something you should nurture. It'll become more and more important as you get older. Exercise, eat right, and try as best you can to keep that stress under control. It does have some harmful effects. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health. Nurture that as well. You'll need it in those dark times. And unfortunately, there will be dark times. Keep a support system around you, trust in those who love you, and most of all, trust in yourself.
You have a bright future ahead of you. You have so many blessings coming your way. Live each day fully, love with your whole heart, and always believe in yourself. The rest will fall into place.
Your thirty-one year old self.