Dear High School Self,
Congratulations, graduate! Yesterday marked the 15 year anniversary of your graduating high school.
You’ve come a long, long way. Life isn’t as easy as you thought, huh? But that’s okay. Look how much you’ve grown, matured, and continued to learn. Throughout the years you’ve persevered, lived, and several times triumphed! I am writing you (myself) to reflect and also to remember. With it being the season of graduations, I am seeing a lot of parents and students make proclamations, some of which I wish I would have heard when I was embarking into adulthood. So here it goes, a letter to my high school self…
It’s going to be okay, always. Please stop being so anxious about things, all things, big and small. Sure, you’re wired to worry and your imagination is always on overdrive, but you control your emotions. Don’t let your emotions control you. Learn this now or you will spend the next 10+ years battling your inner demons, and those battles will cost you relationships, friendships, and so much precious time…and even money. You are smart; see through the anxiety and logically analyze situations. It is okay to worry when a situation calls for it, but only worry when that time comes, if it ever does.
Have fun!! All the time you will spend being anxious over a scenario – that is probably completely made up in your mind (which I am here to tell you, is a lot) – could be time you spend laughing, experiencing new things, or making memories. It will take you years to realize that the best moments of your life happen outside of your comfort zone. Cross the line a time or two and see what you think. Be smart about your choices, but let your guard down enough to know if something is just different or just dumb. Your intuition will know the difference, trust me. Doing so will help you learn what you like, don’t like, what you appreciate, and what (and sometimes who) you can live without.
Speaking of ‘who’… there is a difference between compromising and settling. Learn the difference as quickly as possible. This will save you magnitudes of heartache. You are worthy of effort, inconveniences, and should be made to feel as a top priority in a relationship or even a friendship. You won’t always get your way, but that isn’t my point. Just do not settle for less than what you want in a relationship. Never.
You. Are. Not. Fat…if you’re going to gain something, gain a healthy body image. I realize the people you’ve been surround by for the last 13 years have influenced your self-esteem and your body image. 15 years later, I can tell you that the opinions of these people do not matter. They simply don’t. The only opinion that does matter is your own. Appreciate nutrition and indulge occasionally. Like everything else, learn the balance of the two. Be active! Find a physical activity that you enjoy and do it. Might I suggest rowing? Also, keep up with your medical well-being. You can’t change the cards you were genetically dealt, but being aware will make the path forward easier…and mostly, make more sense!
Your army might be small, but it is fierce. I know you don’t want it hear it right now, but popularity isn’t going to make you happy in 2017 as it once did in 2002. In the upcoming years, you’re going to get dumped, burned, rejected, forgotten, and yup, even divorced. Don’t fret, there is a happy ending! Despite all that, you will learn the most precious lesson of your life (to that point). You don’t need hundreds to feel invincible or to be unstoppable. The quantity of your friendships will not guarantee your happiness. By the end of those previously mentioned trials you will know exactly who is worthy of your friendship and who is meant to be by your side. Spoiler alert!! Be ready for 2016…the world becomes your playground and you will meet – well, you will just have to wait and see for yourself.
So there you have it, kid. Those are just a few things I wanted to share with you, well us. I won’t tell you exactly what happens between 2002 and 2017 because you need to experience every minute of it for yourself. Hopefully this advice helps ease the downs, but also helps magnify the ups. Rest assured (because I know you worry!) that in 15 years, you will have no major regrets. You have a great life ahead of you, trust me. I’ve lived it 🙂 As Pops says, the best is yet to come!
Congratulations to the graduating classes of 2017!! May your dreams be big and your happiness even bigger!