A Letter to My Younger Self
Dear Young Me,
You are in high school and things seem complicated. The world is a scary and uncertain place. You don’t know what you want to do. The world has told you your passion isn’t good enough to support you. They’ve told you you can’t make a living writing and you should go to college for something practical and maybe write on the side. They’ve told you the college you’ve wanted to go to isn’t good and you shouldn’t go there. You’re looking at the future and pretending it doesn’t exist because you’ve still got a few years, three, two, one, it’s not that close. You’ve got your friends, and they’re great, and you have your family and your cats and your teachers and your stories and that’s enough, right?
A lot of people write letters to their former selves, and they have some very good advice to give. I don’t think I do, but I’ll give it a go, because if I could talk to you the way I wish I could, I would want to tell you a few things. Mostly that it’s going okay. You turn out just fine, life isn’t as scary as you think it’s going to be. The biggest advice I have to give is to trust. Trust in God, because He has this pretty awesome plan for you and though I don’t want to spoil anything, I want you to know we’re doing pretty darn well.
You haven’t learned about Dad yet. You haven’t learned his secret and it makes you angry and sad and confused. Dad’s not like other dads. He’s not like Brelyn’s dad, he’s not like Kylie’s dad, he’s not like Mr. Chris. He’s Dad, and he does things Dad’s way and that’s okay. Just because he doesn’t hug or kiss or say “I love you” every day doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you, because he does, very much. Remember that, and don’t do anything stupid. If this letter gets to you that means I have a letter somewhere that I didn’t ruin. I would like it back. At any rate, don’t take him for granted. Don’t dismiss him because he’s different. His love for you is greater than you can imagine. He will do anything for you and that’s how he shows it. He shows his love in actions and when you have a car that should be scrapped, but he fixes it anyway because you love it that much, you’ll understand. So give him a break, give yourself a break. Let go of your frustration and anger and just enjoy having a dad who loves you more than anything.
I would like to tell you to not be afraid of Geneva. I’d like to tell you to disregard what your snobby friends said about it and go for it. I’d like to tell you that starting at Geneva is just fine and you should go ahead and do that. It would give you another year with the best friend you’ll ever have, but that’s not how things are meant to be, so I won’t tell you that. I will tell you to not be afraid, though. I know the thought of the world after graduation gives you anxiety. I know that it seems like a big scary world and student loans are terrifying and leaving home is stressful sounding and you just want to stay home and watch anime for the rest of your life, but it’s okay, really. Like I said, God has this awesome plan for you, and it starts out there. College isn’t that scary, you can do it. College, in fact, is awesome, so much better than high school. Once you get to Geneva you’ll see, but take your time, get your bearings, and take a deep breath, it’s a little scary, but also way cooler than you’re expecting.
I’m sorry you’re stuck where you are. I’ve been trying to think of advice to give that will encourage you in the church you’re attending, in the world that you’ve found yourself, but you are stuck there, reliant on those who have the ability to drive for the next three years. I’m sorry. But it’s not all bad. No, it’s not a great place. You’ll be lost in the crowd, you won’t fit in, you won’t belong, and that’s okay. There are good people there too, hold on to them, they will shape your life in beautiful ways. But don’t feel bad that you don’t belong, don’t try too hard, it’ll only lead to heart ache. You will find your way to something better. There is a community of people an hour and a half away waiting for you to join them. There is a family of Christians waiting for you to be one of them. There is a place where you will be welcomed with smiles every week; real smiles because they’re happy to see you, not because their current “out reach” is to smile and shake hands with people coming through the door. I know it’s hard to grow in your faith when you’re alone in a crowd of 800 people. I know it’s hard to be strong and believe what you’re taught and take it to heart and you’ll be weak for a while. But it gets better, I promise. It gets so much better, so hold on.
I wish I had more advice, but your life has a path and I’ll be honest, it’s a pretty good one. I have regrets, sure, who doesn’t? But as far as regrets go, they’re not that bad. We do pretty alright, by the grace of God, and while I’d like to tell you not to date Jesse at all, because that was a mistake, and don’t let Brelyn push you around, it’s not healthy, I wouldn’t want to alter the direction your life is going, because it’s actually wonderful. I did say I didn’t want to spoil anything, but I will say there is a super cute boy in your future and he’s exactly everything you dreamed he would be and more. I will tell you that there are some really great friends to be made and some beautiful people waiting to meet you. Finally I’ll leave you with the verses you will read someday at your best friend’s wedding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6
I cannot stress enough how important it is that you keep your eyes on God and trust in Him in all things. His plan is wonderful and beautiful and perfect, even if it is bitter-sweet in places. You have a pretty great ride to look forward to, enjoy it while you’re in it, you’ll catch up to me before you know it.
Love, Future You.