Brigid Flanigan - Letter to Myself at Age 25

Dear Bink,

Keep your head up. I am going to give you a few pieces of advice that are going to sound like trite, silly platitudes, but pay attention!

At 25, with four-and-a-half years at a busy, successful corporate hotel and taking on your first exec chef’s position, you are looking to break out. Be open to new opportunities. Take risks. Life is an adventure; live it that way. When you have the opportunity for joy, take it and run with it. Don’t worry that it will be fleeting or will not last. The truth is, it won’t, but nothing does, not even sadness.

Some of the stuff you’re going to face is going to be hard and horrible. You’ll get through it. The family will get through it. What seemed like “certainties” – relationships, jobs, friendships – can and sometimes will disintegrate. They are going to make you into the person you will become. You’ll need them to take the edges off. I know you think you are mellow as a fellow. Believe me, you have some edges, and they’ll need some large-grit sanding!

Be tolerant of others and their shortcomings. This doesn’t mean be a patsy. When people in your life are saying one thing and doing another, believe what they do.

Don’t get too tied to one vision/version of the future. Some of the greatest joys in life are the unexpected ones. You will be surprised how much better “the universe” can choose for you than you can pick for yourself. (And lose the smug know-it-all-ness; it’s really unattractive).

Let stuff go. Share. Yes, doing things for others does bring joy. However, you need to be sure your needs get met, too. Asking for what you need is NOT being a pushy wench.

Do not let money worries plague you. You will be fine. And if you’re working in restaurants you’ll never be hungry (at least not for food).

So just follow your heart. You have a decent moral compass. You may never get a Nobel Prize, but if you follow that compass, you’ll never be incarcerated, either.

Explore. Travel. Let people in. Love freely, openly and often. Don’t be afraid of your feelings and caring for people. That’s what makes you who you are.

You’re a good girl. I love you.

M. Brigid Flanigan, age 48
(and believe me, it doesn’t seem so old from this end)

Associate professor of culinary arts
(is that a hoot or what??!!)

Contact Brigid Flanigan at

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