Cue Brad Paisley, “Letter to Me.” Side note: (double side note: can you even have a side note, let alone a double side note this early on before you even get to the point?!) In that song there is a lyric that says, “…And when you get a date with Bridget, make sure the tank is full. On second thought, forget it, that one turns out kinda cool.” So, shoutout Miss B with the cameo. But hate to break it to you this early BB, dad will grill anyone who takes you out and make sure they have a full tank of gas (if he even lets you drive with another man other than him).
“Love your loved ones with everything you’ve got. Protect them and their happiness with all your might.”
Anywho, I’m turning 30 tomorrow. The big 3-0. A new decade. I think 30 is such a milestone birthday for many because if you think about it, it’s our first “new decade” milestone birthday we’re truly aware of. At 20 all you’re thinking about is t-minus one year to 21! It’s a time when most people start to freak out a little about where they’re at in life and reevaluate aka have a mini-meltdown. Are they on track to their dream job? Are they married? Have they started their family yet?
“Stay strong. Stay happy. Pray. Have faith. Always believe in yourself.”
I’m here on the very verge of 30 feeling SUPER THANKFUL. I am so grateful for what I have done and so blessed for what God has given me. My 20s were a hell of a ride. I graduated college as Journalism Student of the Year. I lived in New York City for 2.5 years working my dream jobs at Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Today Show. I lived in a dream studio apartment on Central Park South for a single girl with a tiny dog that could fit in her purse (don’t worry Drew – I know we were together – I just mean single as in not married). I got married to the love of my life. I lived the NFL life with my unbelievably dedicated, hardworking, and positive husband for 6 years. I traveled the world (4 continents to be exact, but can’t count all the countries off the top of my head – there were a lot). We moved a ton. We had many points where we didn’t have a care in the world and we had many points when we thought the world was ending. We moved back to to our homestate, our hometown. We became parents. We met the love of our life, Miss Bridget Butler.
“Everything is meant to be and everything happens for a reason. Some people hate hearing that, but you don’t, because you know it’s the truth.”
Repeating all of that in a nutshell, you may be thinking who am I to be writing this if everything was all roses. And I’ll be the first to say, it was a hell of a ride and I’ll repeat that I am so very thankful and appreciate every ounce of it. But as any other 20 something-year-old, I had my freakouts.
“Always keep a positive attitude. It might be hard to understand, but the more you go through, the more positive and happy-spirited you become.”
Is moving to New York the right decision? Will I be good enough? Will long distance with Drew ever end? Will we get engaged? Will I have to quit my dream job and once in a lifetime track I’m on thanks to working my ass off and proving myself tirelessly? Will Drew and I ever settle in one place for a few years with football? When will we be in the same city long enough for me to be able to get back into media? Will he get his next contract and be treated the way he beyond deserves? Will he bounce back from his injury? Will the media ever be nice to us? Will fans ever be nice? Will we ever be able to own a home because we’re staying put? Is moving home to Georgia the right decision?
“Take risks because you’ll always be protected.”
And guess what? Everything, and I mean absolutely EVERYTHING, worked out absolutely perfect. The exact way it should. Better than I ever could have dreamt. So here are some things I would hand myself in a letter when I turned 20.
“Don’t let anyone ever dull your sparkle.”
Get ready for one heck of an awesome ride. Enjoy every single stinkin’ minute of it. But don’t EVER take a moment of it for granted. Guess what? You will lose best friends and gain even better ones. Your realest ones will even become your family. Quality over quantity. Don’t rush anything. Focus on yourself all you want right now. Only worry about what you think, no one else. Don’t harp on looking to the outside for approval or make yourself feel guilty over decisions you will make. Because one day, you will have a husband and family you will make a priority and love them with every ounce of your being, and worry about how your decisions will affect them. You’re going to be blessed to be a mom one day when you’re ready to be one, and you won’t believe how beautiful, happy and healthy your daughter is. You are truly lucky beyond measure. And wait until you see the life you and your husband (I won’t spoil anything on letting you know who it is yet, but guess what, it’s your best friend you’ve known your entire life, the one your mom always told you, “When you’re ready to get married one day, I hope your husband looks at you the way Drew does.”) Just wait until you see the life y’all create together. The team you become. The adventures you’ll take. The world you will travel. The life you will build. There’s no describing how grateful of a heart you’ll have for all of it. Of course, there will be times you’ll be devastated. Times you think something is the absolute worst thing ever or there is no good in any part of what you’re experiencing at the moment. But guess what? There always is good. Nothing is ever the ‘absolute worst.’ Take risks because you’ll always be protected. Everything is meant to be and everything happens for a reason. Some people hate hearing that, but you don’t, because you know it’s the truth. You also know despite believing everything is meant to be, that that never stops you or holds you back for still giving everything your all. Always keep a positive attitude. It might be hard to understand, but the more you go through, the more positive and happy-spirited you become. Always put your family first. Nothing and no one holds a candle to them. Love yourself. Take care of yourself and your body (both mentally & physically). Love your loved ones with everything you’ve got. Protect them and their happiness with all your might. You’ll have your dream job, but want to give it all up, no questions asked. You’ll move a ton, no questions asked. I think this is about all I can say without giving too much away… Stay strong. Stay happy. Pray. Have faith. Always believe in yourself. Don’t let anyone ever dull your sparkle.
your t-minus 6 hours until 30-year-old self
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