To my younger self,
As I am writing this, I think back to how you were feeling back then. You were still in high school in that small town. You had dreams, goals and you were determined to build a great life for yourself. You secretly wondered about your future and if the decisions you were making will help you create your dream life. You put all of your time and energy into your schoolwork, which will help you create that life, I promise. You just got a part time job while in your senior year of high school, and it’s at a hardware store. It’s small and quaint, but you want to save up for your future college apartment, which you’ll end up loving. Everything in life seems picture perfect but you still think about where your life will take you. Who will you meet? What will you end up doing career wise? Will you ever fall in love? Spoiler alert: You can’t guess where you’ll be in five minutes, let alone five years. Here’s what I know so far.
You graduate high school and because you are an overachiever, you ended up dual enrolling yourself and you graduate with your associate degree during the same week your high school career ends. Your days were long. You’d wake up before the sun did, you would go to high school until the early afternoon and then take your college classes until late at night. Then you’d wake up and do it all again. None of your friends were doing the dual enrollment experience, so you would often question if it was worth it. The constant homework. The all-nighters. The “Oh sorry, mom, I can’t go to your work party, I have an exam for college biology.” It was a stressful experience. It made you grow up. But I can tell you, it will be so worth it. You even end up finding your passion and you major in English literature. You get into the best university and you love your time there. You even end up finishing your college career at the young age of 21. Be proud of yourself. You worked so hard.
Who will you meet, you wonder? So many amazing people. People with the kindest hearts. People that will turn into your best friends. These people are going to make you laugh endlessly and you will create memories that you will cherish forever. As much as it feels nice to have friends, remember to be there for them, too. You’ll go through a phase where you experience anxiety for the first time. You’ll feel so frustrated because the anxiety will try to overtake your life. Don’t let it. Of course, you’ll have some pretty bad days, but don’t we all? This anxiety will probably always stay with you, but you learn to not let it control you. Your anxiety is not you and you’ll get through even the scariest of moments. Eventually, you find beauty in other things. Friends. Family. Your sister will end up having children, which makes you become an aunt. There will be so many memories made, your life will become this big, beautiful thing. Just wait.
You also question if you will ever fall in love. Love is tricky. It’s not some simple thing, you’ll come to learn. You’ll meet some really amazing partners and one’s you wish you had never met. But, you live in a small town, so you end up running into your exes every time you come home for the holidays. Yikes. In all seriousness, you have such a big heart. When you meet someone you like, you want to give them everything you have. Which isn’t something to be ashamed of. A warning though, people will take advantage of your heart. So, hold it dear. Protect it. Never question your worth. Never settle. Be who you are and know that you deserve love. If the love feels confusing or questionable, leave. You’ll find yourself questioning if love is worth it. I can assure you; it is. You’ll find love one day, it exists. Oh, and when you go through a breakup, you end up blasting Adele songs and you eat a lot of ice cream. Mmhmm. Nothing wrong with that.
The biggest piece of advice I can give to you for these next few unexplored years is to just experience them. Wake up every day grateful that you were given a chance to learn, to grow and to live. Stay motivated. Work hard. Play even harder. Be there for yourself and be there for others. Live each and every single day to the fullest and life will reward you with so many amazing things. Here’s to life, more specifically, your life. Live it.