Dear 13-Year Old Self,
Welcome to the teenage years! Over the course of the next eight years, you will laugh, you will cry, you will love and you will hurt. Most important of all – you will learn.
Your life won’t appear to be as easy as everyone else’s. You will work yourself into the ground and it will seem like you’re getting nowhere. But hold on tight – it’ll all be worth it, you’ll see.
You’re going to experience moments where happiness bubbles up inside of you to the point you think you’ll explode. But more often than not, you will experience disappointment, heartbreak and hardship. Each of these experiences is building you up stronger than ever. You’re going to be fierce, unstoppable and intimidating one day. You will no longer be timid, meek and fragile.
You are going to experience hatred towards yourself. You are going to make friends, and lose more. You will experience tragedy, depression, anxiety and all kinds of issues you didn’t know could ever happen to you.
Unfortunately, there will be several nights, where you lay awake, staring at the black ceiling and wondering why you do it. Why do you keep going day after day? Why? It never gets better. So why try? Why have hope?
At that point, you will make a decision to end it. But because you know deep down, that this isn’t it – that this isn’t what life is supposed to be, you won’t go through with it. Thank God you don’t go through with it.
You should have hope, because your time will come. You WILL make it through the next day, you WILL graduate high school and you WILL feel what it’s like to be genuinely happy. One day, you’ll realize you haven’t been sad in a long time and it will feel strange, but in the best way possible.
These life experiences are going to change you forever. People will always have something to say about you, but don’t ever listen to them. Nobody knows you like you know you. However, keep this in mind when you’re dealing with other people who appear to be difficult or confusing. It works both ways.
You will discover the beauty of having an open mind. You will experience the pain of heartbreak and tragedy. One day you will be so excited and alive and with a couple sharp words, or because no words are spoken at all, you will be crushed and tuck away something that lights you up inside. Nobody is worth giving up what you love. Never let another person dull your light or steal your happiness.
Listen to your parents – but also don’t. Accept what they say and process it. But form your own opinions. Your parents aren’t always right. BUT, if your parents have to punish you after you stumble home an hour past curfew, know that they’re simply doing their duty as your parents. Respect it. Eventually you’ll stop viewing them as your “all-knowing parents”, but as equal humans.
Do not tell anyone that they are less of person because of their personality, looks, interests…any reason, really. You’ve been on the other side of that before and know how terrible it feels.
Feel out every emotion and ride this rollercoaster.
These next eight years won’t be easy, Erica, I’m not going to lie. But you will become bulletproof because of this. You will be unstoppable. You will come out on top.
So play your music too loud, take road trips to foreign cities, love everyone openly and most importantly of all, be yourself. Feel each moment and live in it. You’re going to be twenty before you know it.
Your Twenty-Year-Old Self
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