*Last year, Jamie at Chosen Chaos asked me to write a letter to my 18-year-old self as part of her weekly feature. It was a hard letter to write, mostly because it’s hard to look back on your life and see the mistakes you’ve made, and know you can’t get that time back. But it’s also great to be able to look forward and say that you’ve learned your lesson and will do better.
Jamie has asked all of us who’ve participated in the feature to re-publish our pieces on our own blogs if we’d like to, and link up here together with all of our letters. I’m looking forward to reading the letters this weekend, and I hope you have a chance to look at them all too.
Dear 18-year-old Julie,
Happy Birthday! You’re going to graduate high school tomorrow. This summer, while you’re waiting to leave this small town you hate so much and head off to college, remember to spend lots of quality time with your family. Don’t fight with them, because when you get to that dorm room, you’re going to want one more chance to say your goodbyes the right way.
In fact, you’re going to spend the next 14 years of your life really sucking at goodbyes. In order to prevent yourself from being hurt, you’re going to try to make your exits ugly.
Stop trying to set every bridge on fire.
Ok, so there might be a few bridges that should burn. Just be sure you’re done before you light that match is all I’m asking.
When you get to college, don’t worry so much about having a social life. You didn’t work so hard to get here just to throw it away for a few parties. Go to class. Even the 8 a.m. ones.
Actually, just don’t schedule any 8 a.m. ones. That’s probably smarter.
Don’t be afraid that you don’t belong or that you’re not good enough to be what you really want to be. You were blessed with a big brain in that massive melon of yours, and it needs to be put to work. It doesn’t function well with failure.
Eventually, you’ll graduate college, something you can’t even imagine at this point. Do not panic and marry the guy you’re dating at that time just because it’s what you think comes next. Divorce is expensive.
Be nicer to your mom. She did the best she could. Later, when you’re a mom – oh, and you do get to be a mom; I know the miscarriages will freak you out, but just wait, you will have the most awesome son one day – you’ll realize that parenting is hard and there is a lot of pressure to be perfect.
Be more judicious when choosing friends. Just because you’re in a new place and don’t know anyone does not mean you should trust the first smiling face that comes your way. But don’t shut everyone out, because there are truly good people in this world, just sometimes it takes awhile to find them.
Don’t wait until you’re 32 to learn how to control your temper. Yes, it’s part of who you are, this fiery attitude, but your words carry great power and can cause great pain. You’re not the type that wants people to be hurt, so even when you’re angry, take a timeout before eviscerating someone with them.
Also, you’re going to date a lot of losers. Holy cow, can you ever pick ‘em. And I’d say to avoid that, but I think it will make you appreciate the man you do end up with even more. He’s a prince among men for sure, and he’ll love you through all your issues and tantrums and fears – until one day you don’t even struggle with them anymore.
OH! One more thing. When Hurricane Ike comes through in 2008, pack up all your stuff in a moving truck. Some things can never be replaced.
Your 33-year-old, ridiculously happy, ever-so-blessed self.