Happy 16th birthday! So I know this is super weird, but I've cracked the time vortex to send you this letter from myself (your future self is a genius).
Ok, no. So you never really pick up on the whole math thing or spend your free time crafting magnificent formulas. Just...no. But as frustrating and confusing as life can be, I'm gonna break a little secret to you. Ready?
Here goes: your life actually turns out pretty cool. Bad news first or good? Ok, bad.
The bad news is a lot of the hopes and dreams you have now aren't going to come about. And it will be heart-breaking. The good news?
You will end up being totally ok with that and thank God it happened. So when the time comes, just roll with the punches, hun. The storm will pass and you'll love the view on the other side. I'm not gonna give away everything right now (where would the fun in that be?), but I do have a few things to share that will help get you through the next several years. Through high school and beyond. Some of them you did right anyways. But I'm just gonna share this with you so maybe you don't have as much of a struggle internally with DECIDING to do it the right way. (Don't roll your eyes cuz I'm an annoying adult now. Stop that.)
First, you need to lower your expectations. You expect too much of yourself. Looking back, I'm proud of what you get through. And the accomplishments made. But you sometimes can sacrifice your peace of mind and the sanity of everyone around you as you push for that A+. In the grand scheme of things, you should be proud of the fact you got a 94% and not kick yourself for not getting a stupid 100%. Shrug it off. Smile. And go have fun at volleyball practice. Let it go, nerd.
I'm gonna say right now, and this one is going to hurt. But... you like self-pity. Yes, you do. Don't try to deny it. You like to mope and pout when things go wrong. You like wallowing in intense and dramatic suffering brought on by grandiose situations that are often completely and totally imaginary (yes, in hindsight, that's exactly how ridiculous it looks). Pull! yourself! together! Be thankful for what you have and pull on your big girl boots.
You hear it from teachers and parents and pastors and people that leave and go to college and get all snooty all the time. But it's TRUE. This is a tiny, tiny world and blip on your radar.
You hate hearing that, don't you? Because it's the END of the WORLD when something goes wrong right now, hey? When that guy doesn't look twice at you. When you lost Tuesday night's game. But guess what- this tiny, tiny world, this blip on your radar will pass. And the monumental mountains will seem insignificant in hindsight.
BUT this tiny, tiny world... it's the real world. You hate hearing that too, don't you? You hate hearing people say *Queue Charlie Brown Wah-wah-wah* "Just wait until you get to the real world."
Well, on this one you'd be right. This is life. Your life. Don't listen to people who say, "Wait till you get to the real world." Because they will say that to you while you're in high school. And they will say that to you while you're in college. But the honest truth is, when you start listening to that, you start thinking, "My life doesn't really start until I reach that milestone. Until I graduate from here. Until I graduate from there. Until I get married." No, NO, NO!! This is real life! You need to live it to the fullest now. Now. Because if you don't, and you wait until you're graduated and working a full time job and married, you'll have wasted a quarter century waiting for "real life" to start. Real life is now.
Don't be afraid of your talents. I know you. And for some reason you're afraid to let anyone see that you're good at something. I wish I could say you will be a best-selling author by the time you're twenty, but that doesn't happen. I'm not saying you're Tolkien, but you have some potential. Don't be afraid to write your heart out in Mrs. Hill's class. Don't be worried about what other people will think, or embarrassed that people will think you're weird (believe me, they already do. So you're not hurting anything). Write to your full potential. Play sports to your full potential. Stop shrinking back because of what you think other people will think.
Don't follow your dreams. Just don't. If you do, you'll end up with a creative writing degree and no job while you sit and toss papers in the trash while trying to outscore writer's block. You'll also end up with a lousy guy that you jumped at the first time your heart went pitter-patter. Work hard through college. Get a good job. And wait for the most amazing guy in the world. When the timing is right, and God gives you the green light (he's coming. Just wait till you meet him). You can still do the things you dreamed of, but it may just take a longer route. Follow common sense and work your dreams in.
And finally, do NOT think you have to "find yourself." That's a load of malarkey. Hogwash. Drivel. You get the picture.
You do not have to go "out there" to find out who you are. Who you are is the person that you decide to create. The choices you choose to make. The chances you risk to take.
Finding yourself is garbage. Decide to put out a conscious effort to make yourself the person you want to be. That the Lord wants you to be.
I know things can get tough. I do. You have some hard times ahead of you. But I promise, they serve a purpose. The best days you can possibly imagine are on their way too. Hang in there.
See you soon. Now to find that letter my fifty year old self sent me....
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