To  23-year-old Ivy, 

Hello my love! I am so so so proud of you! Look where you are now! I told you, didn’t I? Just like momma says, “I told you so!” (oh c’mon let me have it just this once!). It is so good to see you smile and laugh and become so alive in yourself. 

I still remember when you were 22, fresh out of college, you applied for the university of your dreams. I remember it all too well, the written exams, the interviews. The first time you stepped on its soil to give yet another interview in order to clear it, you were one of the 30 students shortlisted from all over the country. I remember you felt so happy and confident. You got your first expensive blazer for that trip and I remember you telling everyone how you were made for this field. I also remember how well the interview was that day and I also remember the exact moment you got rejected. On the flight home, I remember you looking at your parent’s faces as their smiles faded away and you felt the light inside you extinguish. You came back home, swore to never apply to that university or to wildlife science ever again and in your rage, you dropped a year. That year was the worst year of your life. But I am so glad you pulled through it. You knew your worth, didn’t you? I know you sometimes regret losing out on all that time, but if you didn’t, you would have lost out on getting to know some amazing people that you would meet the following year. You chose wildlife science and I am so proud of you for being brave enough to apply.  I know you were fearful of another rejection, but you believed in yourself. You will know that in a couple of years, that decision of applying will be the most pivotal moment of your life. You will see how that step was the start of you. The Start Of Ivy. 

I know your life has changed, you’ve finally moved out of your house and are in the jungles doing what you love. It was especially hard for mom to leave you and have you working in the jungles full-time, although she doesn’t say anything. Since, this is the first time you’re living with other people, let me tell you- you are doing nothing wrong. Your heart is full of love, life and friendship. You need to lose those emotions and replace them with more important, essential things; kindness, honesty and most importantly, professionalism. Not everyone who is nice to you needs to be your friend. You will learn how to read the fine print of people, notice the gaps instead of the words, understand now that the more you compromise your gut, the more vulnerable you get. You will become strong, focused and understand how okay it is to be absolutely unstoppable. You will learn how to say no (a thing you’ve never had the necessity for). You will learn to be unapologetic and scowl back at people who make you their business for no reason. You will also see, first-hand, how low can people sometimes stoop, but good news is, you will also meet one of the best people in your life to date! Those people who will lift you up at your lowest will show you what true appreciation looks like and will take your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. You will learn how to keep those people close. You will learn how sometimes, when those people project their prejudices onto you, it is best to be a wall, not a mirror. You will become extremely ambitious in your work, learn to face criticisms, rise in your efficiency and handle workload like never before. You will learn to transform the wind that was supposed to kill the flame in your heart into the wind that will fuel the fire in your mind. You will dream big and achieve bigger things. You will become who you are because of the challenges and not in spite of them. 

Slowly, you will realize that no matter how old you are, when your life seems as if its ending, these times are actually when a new chapter of life begins. The only way you can go from the bottom is up and what better companion to climb up that mountain then the people who will rejoice with you for who you are. It is time you realize that you are the hornbill and it is your voice who can change you. 

The broken but beautiful,
26- year-old Ivy

Written by Ivy @landedonthewrongplanet

Illustrated by Daisy Buckle @naturalcuriositystudio