Dear Young Me,
I have been thinking about you lately. My years as You are filled with wonderful memories of family, school, and friends. There were bumps in the road, difficult times when the process of growing up and learning about the world proved too much. And although there are many things to warn about and secrets I could divulge, I simply feel the need to remind you that everything you did and endured will totally be worth it.
BE Awkward ~~ The worry you have about never fitting in and being a bit on the edge of normal does not go away. There will always be moments of rejection and judgment by others. The good news: you will discover a beautiful way to work through the hurt and emerge on the other side more confident and stronger than you could ever imagine. Embrace your differences. They will be the very thing to help you succeed as a writer. (Spoiler alert — your dream actually does come true!)
BE Brave ~~ Sometimes you fear saying the wrong thing or acting in a manner which does not meet the approval of someone else. The truth is that will happen. You are a human and being human means you are capable of great things. But the good cannot exist without its counterpart. You will hurt people, you will apologize, you will feel guilt, and you will have regret. You are blessed with the ability to form opinions and though these thoughts may not mesh with others, silence is not an option. Use your voice. Speak not with the intent to hurt or demean but with the sole purpose of revealing your heart.
BE Happy ~~ There may be moments when it seems wrong to be happy because others around you are in a bad place and hurting. I am telling you now: it is never wrong to feel happiness. In this world, there will be people who try to pull you down, deep to their level of sadness, anger, or frustration. Hold your head high, smile, and rise above the negativity. Discover your joy. And once you find it, spend every spare moment there.
BE Loved ~~ As a young girl, there are countless beliefs and ideas thrown at you about the concept of love. Tragically, the bulk of the message is that it should be a romantic, sweeping, fantasy-type of love where everything and everyone is perfect. Confession: true love is messy. It is painful and amazing and something you should strive for when given the chance. The right person for you is someone who appreciates the bad more than the good, listens when you speak, makes you laugh, and considers you an equal. You will find this person — your partner — and you will experience a rollercoaster of emotions and pray you never get off the ride because the thought of being without him is unbearable. When your heart calls, pay attention. Love yourself and allow yourself to be loved, flaws and all.
BE Selfish ~~ You are bored now, but there will soon be unimaginable distractions to pull your attention from what is important. Continue to indulge in books and escape within their written worlds. Turn off the noise of electronics. Practice the minimalist ideal you believe in. And when something does not fit the vision you hold for your life, say no without regret. A busy life does not equal a successful one. Time and energy are limited. Spend them doing the things you love with the people you love and in the places you love. Focus on what matters. By ignoring the constant push to consume more, buy more, and do more, you will be more.
BE Present ~~ There are phases, activities, and things you wish you could skip. You want time to hurry so you can move onto the next milestone. You are impatient. Stop. Breathe. Look around you. These are not simply moments in time. They are the moments that make up a Life. You will be sad, but you will soon feel joy. You will be alone, but you will never feel lonely. You will get sick, but you will also heal. People you adore will die too soon, leaving before you are ready to say goodbye, but you will find peace within the pain. Celebrate the everyday where you are awake, alive, and blessed.
In the end, there is no way to prepare for the future and to be honest, knowing what is ahead of you ruins the beauty of the present. Love where you are and just BE.