Dear 17-year-old Self,
I have learned a lot in the nearly thirty years since I've seen you, and I want to share with you what I know about you now that I'm this far down the road.
You're right. No one knows the answers to your questions-- but that's okay. That doesn't mean no one cares. Someday you'll find out that you are smart enough, intelligent enough, insightful enough, to figure out your own answers; and they'll be good answers.
You're doing fine. Breaking up with you-know-who is wise, and you'll never regret it.
You don't need the approval of a teacher to know you have done well. Besides, once you get out of school, there will be no more grades. You'll have to make up your own mind whether you did well or not. But it will be okay.
Not everything is your fault. Someday you'll learn how to not feel guilty for EVERYthing and it will be a huge relief. That day is coming, it really is.
You'll learn this later, but I wish you could understand it now: You don't have to parent your parents. That doesn't help your lost and alone feelings now, I know, but at least it would take some emotional weight off of you.
More people care about you than you think. They just don't know how to tell you, or what to do to show you. You don't know this yet, but some people have issues with your parents, and don't want to get too close because of it, but that doesn't mean they don't like YOU. Some of them are even praying for you, and helping you in ways you don't know.
On the other hand, fewer people care than you think, so don't worry what people are thinking about you. Just do what you want to do. Most people aren't paying attention and really don't care what you do. And the ones who make all the noise are just trying to get attention for themselves and don't REALLY care about YOU at all. So just go right ahead. Besides, the ones who really do care are rooting for you.
God loves you. You know that, sort of. What you don't realize is, He LIKES you. Really. He thinks you're cute and endearing, and he likes your individuality and who you are, 'cause He made you that way.
Also, God knows right where you are, and He's listening, and He's taking great pains to help you navigate your way through life. Believe it or not, even though you can't see it, you are going to end up in the right place. God sees your struggles, and your great determination to do well and make the right choices, and He is honoring that. Take courage. It will be well.
And. All those walks to school where you think you're talking to yourself? You know, since you have nobody else to talk to? God is listening. He says you're actually talking to HIm, and He loves it.
You are trying so hard. You want to do well, and be good, and make things right. You won't always succeed, because some of the things you feel responsible for, you really aren't. Someday you'll be able to let those things go. But in the meantime, just know that you're okay.
Another thing. It's okay to be sick once in a while. And it's okay to tell somebody, including, or maybe especially, your teachers. And it's okay to stay home and get better. Those attendance awards in grade school? Do not apply. Just do the best you can, and don't worry.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is You're doing fine. You're okay. And it's all going to be all right. Really. You can trust me.
Your 45-year-old Self
Monday, February 4, 2008
Dear 17-year-old Self,