Dear Diary is a series where we invite people to write letters to their younger selves. What do you wish you knew then? What has life taught you up until this point? Do you wish you hadn’t gotten bangs that one time? This month, we're highlighting the AAPI community and the wisdom we've collected over the years. Our inaugural letter is from Charlotte Chen Pienaar, founder of Everyday Humans.
"Dear 20-year-old Charlotte,
I know you are feeling a bit wobbly right now. You’ve just completed your degree in Economics from NYU, but your mom back home is fighting cancer. You had the most covetable summer internship at the best investment bank during your junior year of college, but you didn’t get a full-time offer after graduation. You have a creative side, your parents were in fashion, but in a counterintuitive way, you tried so hard to squash it. You’re just trying to figure everything out both personally and professionally, and you are feeling really lost and drained.
Finance is really not your “calling” you will try it for five years and realize that the two reasons why you’re there are to meet people you will call friends for life and to meet your amazing husband — who you will have two beautiful children with. (Oh, and to learn how to make awesome PowerPoints and spreadsheets!) You will learn to embrace your creativity and your love for all things “new and trendy” despite dismissing it in your college years. You’ll soon find out that this combo is your secret sauce — being creative and loving new things while having a business background really works as an entrepreneur.
You don’t have to apologize for figuring yourself out. It will be another five odd years, and your journey will take you to strange places and careers that are completely isolated and random. Take your time, enjoy and embrace each adventure with an open heart because all of these experiences will only make you uniquely you. You don’t have to be like everyone else, and it’s okay, but remember to take as much time as you can for your family and loved ones, as they are all you have and truly, the reason for living.
When you’re in your early 30s, you’ll realize that you are destined to start a company, just like how your mom and dad did it, but you’ll be more prepared than they are as you started that journey later in life. You’ll build a community of loyal customers who will believe in your vision and mission.
Always remember that no matter what path you choose: you have your own place in the world, and mom, up there, is so proud of you. When you’re told that you’re not enough, don’t believe them. Know that the world may seem to be against you, but your future is bright! :)