Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dear 18 Year-Old Me

Dear Me,

It's September 2005, and you're a senior in high school. I remember you and your 16 hour days. Wake early, walk to school, leave for medical office training, and then working at Wendy's until 10. You have so much energy, enjoy it. A schedule like that will wipe you out 10 years from now.

You're doing okay, but in the hurry to get to your future, you missed some things.

Make time for some college prep. The first year will overwhelm you and it's partly your high school's fault. Read Shakespeare. Go to the library and check out books on introductory chemistry and calculus and accounting. And when you flop on your face, remember that there's always geology and that the professors will be kind if you are kind.

Keep Reading! You do it so much, judging from that pile of library books on your bedroom floor. Even if you don't check out books on calculus (because that's boring), keep reading. You won't do it recreationally for years after college. Also, keep drawing, painting and writing- for the same reason.

Spend time with your Mom! You will not live near her forever and you will reminisce on these days with her in the future. Enjoy time together, even it it's painting the apartment at 2nd Street, Mix Ave, and at Jackson's. The hour after work you would spend with her on the porch on 2nd Street, talking about whatever came to mind. Thank her for picking you up from work (after driving you there- after just gotten home from work herself). Remember to make her breakfast every so often, help do laundry and walk with her to do errands. She's the one who will teach you to get by on very little and to develop healthy spending habits. She will teach you much about  forgiveness with the people you love, and yes, that includes you at times.

Do not date that guy (but you will). There will be good times (great, even) but it will end badly. You will sink your first 3 years of college into that relationship and not break free until your senior year. Debt will be accumulated and tears will be wasted on a forced relationship. Don't try to be friends- it will be painful and he will try to keep you on the hook. Oh, and don't let him keep the electric under your name.

But, from that relationship you will learn how to see good character and how to pay attention to red flags. You won't let yourself compromise and will be choosy. And you will be able to look back at this relationship and see the growth (and heartbreak) that everyone suffers can be used to learn from.

Read your Bible (but you won't). Not yet, anyway. In a few years time, the most important relationship you will have will begin, but maybe crack the Bible open for a refresher.

Don't second guess your choice to get a job instead of playing volleyball. You haven't played more that a dozen times in the 10 years since graduating (and you're pretty sucky at this point), but you use the people skills you learned working in fast food every single day.

Stop hating people who wrong you. Sometimes people are selfish, adults aren't there for you and everyone has their own issues to work through. Love and forgiveness is healthier. Understand that someone with a selfish nature needs God to change them, and not you. And just for some perspective, 10 years from now he will be the same.

Now go to bed. You have class in the morning.

Future You

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