Dear Younger Me,
I just want you to know that there’s more for you in the world than you think right now. Life does extend farther than middle- and high-school, and you will do big, exciting things in your life. In fact, in a few years, you’ll probably forget about half of the things you thought were important.
I want you to feel good about yourself. I know that your bad-bangs-haircut seems like the absolute worst disaster in the world, but really, you’re fine. And by fine I mean completely OK. Hair grows back. No one cares what your hair looks like – and you’ll even learn to use a straightener the right way. 😉 Acne doesn’t exactly go away by the time you’re 18, but it does get a lot better. I know you hate them, but those braces are so worth it; you’ll be thankful for them when you get them off. By the way, being short and kind-of tiny can actually be a good thing sometimes, so don’t be self-conscious about it.
The Lizzie McGuire era will end eventually (I’m so sorry). But don’t worry, you’ll find new TV shows, and Hilary Duff doesn’t end up crazy. To add to this small heartbreak, times of getting free posters with movie soundtracks will go away too, but you’ll get past it. Remember Taylor Swift, the country singer? Well, she’s going to be way more famous and way less country in a few years – and you’ll get to see her in concert. I know you saw the Jonas Brothers, too, but…prepare yourself…they’ll break up eventually.
Just some advice: you really should be as fun around other people as you think you are when you sing karaoke in your room and video yourself like you’re on a music video. You have more talent than you think, so don’t be embarrassed. I see pure joy, and joy is nothing to be embarrassed about. Keep that happiness alive and share it with others; make sure they can see it, too.
Speaking of happiness, please stop texting so much – you sure are missing things. Contrary to popular belief, your dying phone battery won’t kill you. It only kills the phone. Not having internet on your phone is actually a good thing, considering you use the phone enough as it is. Your friends will still be your friends if you talk to them later, and it’s more beneficial to talk in real time. You’ll see big things happening and beautiful people around you if you would only look up.
Don’t post on Facebook about everything you do and everywhere you go. There’s actually going to be an app (a what?) called Timehop that will show you what you said eight years ago. You’ll probably embarrass yourself a little. But thanks for posting so many pictures, because, although some (read: most) of them are silly, they make for some great memories. You’ll look at them and smile, laugh, and cry because only you understand just how exciting every snapshot was in the moment. You’ll remember just how much you love each and every person in those photos.
Remember that life is short, and you don’t have time to take it for granted. Take more time to be thankful for the people and things around you. More time to thank God because He has given you this life. More time to love your surroundings deeply. Breathe it all in with appreciation before it passes by because it will go faster than you think.
Remember all those times you compared yourself to other people based on their grades or their status in the class? Or when you thought that being bad at math was the end of the world? Don’t you worry – you really don’t need Algebra or Trigonometry because you’ll end up a writer. (But don’t forget to thank your brother for helping you pass all the math). You may not ever know how to do an equation again, but at least you got through it.
Most of these things won’t matter once you get to college anyway. High school GPA is no big deal, and college is a lot of work but it will be a little easier because you get to do what you like. Plus, those people you compare yourself to? They struggle in their own ways, just like you. We’re all unique, and that is beautiful. You know those times you thought you would never amount to much? Plot twist: you already do. Listen to your parents when they tell you that. You’re smart, and you’re perfectly imperfect. God created you for a reason, and if you keep on working for Him, you’ll understand that better. Just keep doing your thing. Everything will be fine.
You’ll lose friends, and you’ll gain some. You’ll get to keep the best ones around. You’ll go through rough patches and drama, but it’s not the worst thing that could happen. Be careful about what you say or think, and don’t stay bitter when someone decides they want to hang out with another friend this time. Don’t stay sad when people decide you’re not the type of friend they want; sometimes people leave our lives for a reason, and it’s better for everyone. It’s OK to miss people, but it’s not OK to dwell on it. It will make sense in time. You’ll make countless new friends, and they will all care about you more than you know. All of your people and experiences will shape who you are.
I know you think your life is kind-of a mess at times (who doesn’t?), but you’ll get to go to Auburn University, and it’s going to be the best decision you’ve made in a long time. Just don’t forget to take care of yourself mentally and physically because a little TLC goes a long way.
You’ll meet people that you can open your heart to, people who want to do their best to follow God, people who love you for you and always will. You’ll date for a while, and then you’ll meet the love of your life. After you graduate in only four years you’ll marry him after three short months (seriously, it’s true). I know you thought that wouldn’t happen, but guess what? It absolutely will.
Don’t forget to pray often. It really can help the biggest of problems and the smallest of worries. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and confide in people – let them confide in you! Your friends and brothers and sisters in Christ are some of the greatest blessings God gave you. Don’t be too prideful to admit when you’re wrong; you don’t realize it now, but that’s actually a good thing to do. While you’re admitting your wrongs, don’t forget to give yourself grace and mercy. Before you can give it to anyone else, you have to learn to give it to yourself. Believe in yourself enough to take action when you need to – to help yourself and others, and to stand up for the cause of Christ. Everything is small in perspective to heaven.
Now I want to thank you.
Thank you for overcoming some of your small-but-big fears – like trying out for jazz band vocals a second time even though your cold messed up the first, and being section leader in band, even though you never thought you could be a leader; you really were a good influence. Like those two years you played tennis despite your insecurities and low ladder ranking – it was good for you. And when you went to Bible camp three states away so you could grow in the Lord. Never forget the time you decided to go to college four hours away from home because you just knew it would be good for you somehow.
Thank you for learning to come out of your shell a little bit by the time you graduated high school, and for being determined to keep letting go. Thank you for letting those college friends be close ones, for opening up to them and pouring out your heart over coffee or sushi or pizza, and letting them pour out theirs. Thank you for standing up to yourself and deciding when saying “no” was better than bringing yourself down – for understanding when enough was enough. Thank you getting over your stubbornness and pride and listening to God when you knew He was right all along.
Thank you for letting Him mold you in a way that only He can.
Believe it or not, life is going to work out beautifully. You won’t be perfect, but you’ll be enough. Just you wait.