A Letter To My 24 Year Old Self

A letter to my 23 year old self - The Calm Collective

 (24 years old)

MY FIRST PHOTO FOR MY BUSINESS BACK IN 2010


If you could, what would you go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself? I’ve thought about this quite a lot recently, so I thought I would go ahead and create a little list of 24 things I would tell my 24 year old self today, if I could.   Why 24?

  • This is the year I found out my dad had stage 4 cancer
  • This is the year I quit my corporate job and started my photography business
  • This is the year I left Denver and moved back to Chicago

Dear Cassie Babe (a family nickname),

You’re 24 and if only you knew what lay ahead, you’d have far less fear, way more gusto, and a completely different out look on life. You’ll be heartbroken, exhausted, confused, tired, excited, scared, challenged, proud and alone. Just to name a few. But if I could tell you 24 things today that could have prepared you back then, this would be them:

  1. You’re doing the right thing by quitting your corporate job. You really are. It’s terrifying and humbling to create something from nothing and build up your passion into a career. But your business will grow in ways you never could have imagined.
  2. You’ll spend majority of your energy this year taking care of your self and your family’s emotions. Especially your dad. Keep crawling into bed with him and having big talks, even if they scare the two of you a little.  You’ll lose him 3 years from now, and these conversations will be what bring you closure in the end, even though you don’t know it now.
  3. Stop coloring your hair. Seriously. Natural is better.
  4. Go see a therapist. Life is really big.
  5. The comparison game is ugly. Stop looking to other successful photographers for your overnight success. It’s coming. I promise.
  6. You probably should have done your solo trip to Europe, but lets go ahead and let that regret go. You stayed home for all of the right reasons. How were you to know that your dad would do well in that specific season of life? You’ll see Europe soon enough, and with really good company.
  7. Don’t hold onto friendships that make you feel bad. People show you who they really are, day in and day out. Pay attention.
  8. Say “no” more. Your social calendar doesn’t sum up who you are as a person.
  9. Take note of the things you need in a relationship, and stick to those guidelines. Don’t veer off track. You know what you want. I promise that you’ll find it, and it will be even better than you could have imagined.
  10. Keep writing. You’re on to something.
  11. Start getting regular massages, like yesterday. Your job is way more taxing than you realize. You’ll thank me later.
  12. Also, get more facials.
  13. You’ll form kinships with old childhood friends that are unexpected and are brought together by heavy, common loss.  The definition of a blessing in disguise.
  14. You may regret your move to Denver, but don’t. It was a beautiful place to grow and claim your independence.
  15. Don’t be so impulsive when it comes to change.  Let decisions marinate and find peace in your answers.
  16. Your veganism will be one of the best things that you take on in your life. I’m sorry to tell you it won’t do your body good for the long haul, but you’ll learn so many important health lessons through this journey.
  17. Workout your frustrations with your dad’s illness and your stress of building something new by boxing with a trainer.  This will save you.
  18. Get a different trainer. This will also save you.
  19. Have your dad write you letters for the future. It’s the one thing you wish you had from him.
  20. Your tattoo on your left arm of your dad’s famous saying, “love you so” in his handwriting will become the thing you love most about yourself, externally.
  21. Your $250 apartment in Chicago is unheard of and you are so insanely lucky. Don’t move to the bigger place just yet. Stay a little longer and save more money. I know your room is the size of a shoe box, but who cares.
  22. If you’re booking every client, you should probably raise your prices. Go ahead and do that now, please.
  23. Wear more sunscreen.
  24. Love yourself more.

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