In a few short weeks it will be 20 years since I graduated from high school. It’s hard to believe how fast these years have gone by. Yes, I have aged a bit, but I have also gained so much. These 20 years have brought wisdom through life experiences, a greater sense of self as well as self-confidence, and the realization that my own happiness is important too.
I would like to mark this occasion by writing a letter to my 18-year-old self, sharing some good thoughts and advice that I wish I knew, or better yet, believed back then.
Dear Sweet Girl Full of Hope and Wonder,
As you graduate high school, be excited about what lies ahead, believe in the goodness of others, and don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams. I would like to offer some other words of advice to help you along the way.
Realize what a beautiful person you are, how genuine your heart is and how intelligent and thoughtful you are. This will save you from many years of depression, insecurity and heartache. Quit thinking that everyone else is more important. Find your voice. People will listen. Believe in yourself, because your whole wonderful life lies before you.
You are very sensitive and your feelings are easily hurt. Try not to take everything so personally. And, though it may seem like the world is watching your every move, most of the time people have their own issues and problems going on to notice your faults and missteps.
Don’t feel like you have to fix everything. You have always felt the need to make sure everything is perfect in everyone else’s world. This is not your job. Try to focus on your own happiness for once.
Date guys who will lift you up, instead of pull you down. It will take you many years to learn this lesson. Hang in there, because you will eventually find someone who will treat you well, make you laugh and never be a cause for tears. Yes, he does exist.
Do something with your creativity. You are amazingly talented and you should believe in yourself as much as others do. As you get older, one of your greatest assets will be your imagination. One day you will start your own company utilizing your creative talents.
You will constantly try to reinvent yourself and figure out who you are. Slow down and focus on your life today. Enjoy your life’s journey.
Don’t worry about events that may not ever happen. Even if negative things do happen, you are stronger than you think. You will be able to handle it.
Try not to be so hard on yourself about mistakes that you have made and will make along the way. There will be many, but these experiences will shape the young woman that you will become. So, don’t regret these lapses in judgement. Learn from them instead.
Don’t be afraid to go after what you want in life. Many of your greatest opportunities will be disguised as challenges and obstacles. Never give up. Break through them and you will find many successes.
Realize that it gets better. You will endure many times when it seems like all hope is lost. Hang in there. Life is going to be so good, you just have to experience a few rough times, so that you can fully appreciate the good ones.
Always remember that you are surrounded by people who love you and believe in you. These people will be your sources of strength whenever you need them. Lean on them and don’t push them way.
So embrace your future. You are blessed with so many wonderful gifts. Don’t get in the way of your own happiness. Live in the moment.
And in case you’re wondering, in 20 years, everything is going to be great. You will be happily married and a mommy to two amazing girls. You will become an incredible cook, and you will use your creative talents in many different ways each day.
Go for it! Life is good.
What would you write in a letter to your former self? We’d love to hear from you and possibly publish your letter in a follow-up post. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org