At the end of all my episodes, I ask my guests what they would tell their younger selves.
Last week, my best friend came to visit. Now, my best friend is not just any best friend - we have been best friends since the 4th grade. We are more like sisters, really. We often joke that we mothered each other, we are sisters, we are best friends, and we are twin flames. We have been through so much together, have watched and been seen through so many hard times.
When she was visiting, we were sitting in the back of my partner's car, my partner and hers talking comfortably in the front seat. I turned to her, her hand in mine, and asked, "What would you want to tell your younger self?"
We talked about where we were when we first met. I reflected on the young girl that felt unhappy where she was. I grew up in a very small town whose values did not align with my own. I felt lonely, misunderstood, trapped. My best friend was the only person I felt understood me there. I thought about the girl who so desperately wanted to fit in, who changed and morphed herself to try and appease others.
I told my best friend that I would want to show younger Sam snapshots of these visits - of both of us doing just fine, having left the town and school we grew up in, still being best friends, having great jobs and even better partners. I would want to show her Norah, my sweet little anxious dog, to show her that even though I wake up with anxiety still, I am not my anxiety.
I wouldn’t want to show her the posed photos, I would want to show her the giggling outtakes, the pictures before the kiss, the perfectly imperfect ones.
I would tell my younger self that everything really is going to be okay. That turning 18 and moving away seems so far away, but that soon, you'll be sitting in a car with your best friend in a new city, thinking back to when things were different. To embrace where you are, not just where you're going. That the future seems delicious and seductive, but sometimes where you are is good too.
If I had to pick one thing though, I would tell her, simply, I love you just as you are.
What would you tell your younger self?