You know that song by Brad Paisley, Letter to Me? He talks about sending a letter to his 17 year old self where he gives advice and tries to guide him on the ways of the world. I love that song, mostly because I’ve often thought, “If I could tell my teenage self what I know now, life could have been so much easier.”
Dear 17 year old me,
It’s your Senior year, have fun, but keep working hard. You’re going to need some discipline to get through your first year of college. That darn Algebra II is going to haunt you for years to come.
When you go for your Senior pictures, dump the frumpy frock and the serious face, and while you’re at it the huge bangs. Yeah, it’s the style, but in 10 years when it is on your name badge at your high school reunion you will thank me.
That guy you’ve had a crush on forever, he’s a good guy. Many years later you’ll see each other, you’ll talk, you’ll be friends, and you’ll realize that you never really wanted to date him. He was a nice distraction, so don’t waste time pining away after him. There is plenty else to be done with your time!
Some day soon you are going to meet the guy that finally believes your freckles are sexy, not cute. Do me a favor, believe him the first time he tells you that and don’t keep doubting it for say half a dozen years.
In the meantime, you are going to meet some duds. Some will treat you terrible, others will put you up on a pedestal so high you are in constant fear of toppling off. I wish I could tell you to skip over them. Don’t. But I can tell you you will survive. The hurt will be worth it, trust me.
The close friends you make in high school, you all will go separate ways, then reunite, then get busy with life. But the good news is they will always be there for you, they are never too far away. You will catch up on the phone or text or Facebook. You don’t know about texting or Facebooking yet and I don’t want to give anything away. Just remember that, okay?
Hug your family and tell them how much you love them, especially your Nano and Dado. Some day you’ll be really far away from them and some day some of them will be gone. You thought you had forever, but forever wasn’t nearly long enough.
Your best friend, she’s going to need you like never before. Stay strong, but don’t be afraid. Have faith, faith in God’s plan and don’t try to make things better when you can’t. Just be there and know that is enough.
Don’t let the “it” girls define you. You know those few who continue to look down their noses at you, squint and say “What’s your name again?” Even though you’ve been going to school and sitting by them in class for the last 4 years. Their mission seems to be humiliation and even though you’re tough, it hurts. Let me tell you something. In ten years you will see them some will have gained 30 pounds and are single. You’ll be sitting next to your hunky husband with a precious 6 month old waiting for you at home. They’ll still ignore you, but you won’t care in the least.
And lastly, here’s the thing, you are a late bloomer. A really late bloomer, and it’s okay. I know you think that your 17 year old self is all you’ve got, but you’re wrong. You’ll bloom, it’s just going to take a few years. You’re going to get comfortable in your skin and then watch out world. Really, you will. The thing is, in order for you to bloom you have to grow, and right now you still have a lot of growing to do.
Keep laughing and being protective of the ones you love. Keep sighing over that crush from a distance. Keep going to all those football and basketball games and cheering from the bleachers with your friends. Your best years are yet to come. But being 17, you never get that back. Make great memories and enjoy life. It seems to fly by!
Your 39 year old self
What would you tell your 17 year old self?