Dear Twentysomething: Kelly Simmons

Dear twentysomething,

Maybe these aren’t the best years of your life. Maybe you miss college, the hug of a dorm room, the hush of a library. Maybe your obnoxious, preening professors don’t seem nearly as dangerous as your stupid, scheming bosses. Maybe you know too many people who have more money in the bank and more clothes in their closet and more stamps on their passport than you do.

Maybe you are walking a tightrope. That thin moon that hangs between being a self-starter and a go-getter. Being a lot of fun and being a bit too much. Between being ready and being there already.

The thirties await you on the other side, with all the shiny gifts and promises they seem to bring.

But know this.

You are the age when you are always lit from within.

Older people see it like a golden lamp when you walk into a dark room, your skin still plump like a baby’s.

Your source of energy now, if you don’t mute it, is endless.

Strip away the cocktails and the Red Bulls, the all-nighters at the office. Walk past the 24-hour carbohydrate palaces, and lay down on a pillow with a flannel case you washed yourself. Rest. Heat up some soup. Listen to the music people make fun of you for liking. Build an altar of your favorite books, a toy, a card your grandmother gave you.

These are not the years to burn up and grind down. To scratch or claw or pound.

These are the light years. The weightless ones, the lily-pad days.

I won’t say enjoy them; everyone says that, no one listens.

I will say: Use them. Use them not to move and jostle and scheme. Use them to be still enough to learn what you truly want.

Kelly Simmons, who narrowly survived her 20s, is the author of two novels from Simon & Schuster: THE BIRD HOUSE and STANDING STILL. Her website & blog live at: She also muses on twitter @kellysimmons


5 Responses to "Dear Twentysomething: Kelly Simmons"

  • “These are not the years to burn up and grind down.” – So true. I know I spent some time in my 20s worrying about things insanely too much, and not fully allowing myself to enjoy the moment. This is a beautiful letter.

    1 Ginger @ GReads! said this (December 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM)

    • thanks Ginger — and thanks Melanie for letting me contribute to such a great series. What a fun way to celebrate, all month!

      2 Kelly Simmons said this (December 2, 2011 at 4:08 PM)

  • So true, so true! If only I could go back to my college years. There is far too much stress and responsibility that comes with the further centuries, lol.

    3 Michelle said this (December 2, 2011 at 4:21 PM)

  • That one just made my heart sing! Lovely.

    4 linds @ bibliophile brouhaha said this (December 2, 2011 at 10:26 PM)

  • I love this. The image of the light shining within. The possibility of that light, that energy, surviving the challenges of the twenties and being there when you enter your thirties is promising. It shows that even though we start to feel old in our twenties, we still have so much life to life.

    5 Jennifer said this (December 6, 2011 at 1:30 PM)