Shoulder Pads + Soul Mates: A Letter to My 20 Year Old Self

Last year, I turned 40.

Impossibly surreal. Mystically bizarre. Just yesterday I was fleeing high school, with shoulder pads and stilettos underneath my graduation gown; absolutely certain that the world was my oyster and that extra-strength hair mousse could carry me through any encounter. I can hardly believe that I can say, “twenty years ago…” in reference to anything I was alive to witness.

Dear Danielle at 20:

  • Credit cards are (mostly) evil.
  • Algebra is (really) useless.
  • If he doesn’t stay until morning, he’s probably married, deeply insecure (or both).
  • Talk is cheap. And action is priceless.
  • Tragedy happens. Yes, everything happens for a reason, but life can be cruel and wrenching and while it all comes out in the cosmic wash, some souls collide.
  • There is no soul mate. This won’t be easy to hear, because you are longing for The One 24/7. But, guess what? The One is The One because you say he (or she) is. And that’s way more liberating and empowering than anything preordained or supposedly destined. And while we’re dissing cosmic romanticism..
  • There’s no such thing as destiny. Sorry. Life really is what you make it. Oh, and another thing…
  • If you don’t kiss girls in your twenties, you’ll probably never get around to trying it out. You should try it out.
  • Diplomacy is overrated.
  • Mistakes do happen.
  • Go to more concerts.
  • Those books you lent out? You’re not getting them back.
  • If your boss tries to French kiss you, that’s…uncool.
  • Kindness is one of the most powerful natural resources there is…infinitely renewable.
  • Your heart, your heart, your heart is where it’s at.
  • When you turn 40, you shall be rocking like never before, grateful for absolutely everything, and you will finally, finally feel like you interlock with the planet – minus the shoulder pads.

Editor’s Note: Danielle LaPorte is the creator of, which has been called “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.” She is the author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs, an inspirational speaker, former think tank exec, and news show commentator. You can find her on Twitter @daniellelaporte.

Image: zigwamp