Dear 15-year-old Me

These letters are doing the rounds this week to celebrate the launch of Emily Freeman’s book Graceful, for teen girls. Check out her fantastic letter and some others here. Since it fit right in with my letter-writing-Friday, I wrote one too.

Hey young lady,

It’s me, your future self. Truth is that I’m not that much older than you but I’m a lot smarter. I want to reassure you of a few things to lighten the load that you burden yourself with. Your worrying keeps you up at night and it holds you back from enjoying these awesome and pain-in-the-arse teenage years, so I hope to allay some of your fears.

First things first, you will be relieved to know I’ve given up my endeavour to be perfect and I’m happier than ever. I’m kinder to myself and I laugh more. It’s so refreshing and I can’t wait for you to experience this. However you’ve got a few tough years ahead of you yet, which is how you will arrive to where I am now.

You have no idea what you are capable of. That frustration you feel with your seemingly talentless self? It will take years (sorry), but it will pass. You will grow, create and learn. You will discover your passions, flourish, and fall into your identity. The years to come of not knowing who you are, they are so important to your development. You will find your place eventually so don’t sweat it too much okay?

You are brave, smart and fun. Try to focus on these things instead of your faults. Like the attention seeking, which you will mostly grow out of. Though you will always be loud and that’s actually a good thing, so ignore the lies that whisper ‘you are too much to handle’. To some people you are too much, but they aren’t the right people for you. You are loved by your friends and people enjoy your energy. So quit wishing you were quiet and demure because that isn’t who you were born to be. And believe it or not, there are plenty of quiet girls that envy your social skills.

You think you’re fat but girrrrl, you ain’t. Enjoy those legs and that cute bum. Soon all that junk food you eat will take residence on your hot bod and you will miss what it is now. I have more confidence than you in my fuller and curvier figure, but you are way hotter.

You can be very melodramatic and self-involved, and it isn’t endearing in the slightest. Stop crying in the mirror for one second to gain some perspective. Your life isn’t that bad, and other people are facing hard times too. Look up and look out. While I’m taking you down a peg, I may as well also inform you that you don’t know everything. You could do with some humility. Wisdom and maturity come from experience, of which you have none. Yet.

The only thing that I deeply regret and wish you would do differently, is how you treat your sweet little sister. That kid adores you and asks you to play a board game with her most days. She is lonely and needs you, but you always say no. The age gap feels more of a chasm, but when she is still young you will go on the adventure of your life and be apart from her for too long. These days she and I are great friends from afar, and though she doesn’t hold it against me, I do. Your time with her is precious so play the damn games. Indulge her. If not for yourself, do it for me. I miss her.

On a final note, don’t take yourself so seriously for heavens sake! You think far too much and we both know how exhausting that is. You’ve had to grow up fast so cherish the naivety you still possess. Stop worrying. You will get your driving license, you will have enough money and you will do great things. You will see the world and find out where you fit into it. You will be happy and create a life that you love. I would know, I’m here waiting for you.

The Lord’s face is shining down on you, so look up and bask in His sunlight. Everything will be okay.

Love
The future you

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Discovering My Skill

I always want to learn lots of things and be able to do lots of different things. In the past it was based on wanting to be someone other than myself; acquiring skills that God never created me to do.

As I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin and grown up a little, I don’t want to learn just everything and anything¬†any more. I still have a desire to be better and know more, but I want to learn specific skills that can be effectively used and applied in and through my life. Skills that can help, encourage and bless people. I don’t want to spend my precious time, energy and focus on trying to be someone else or learn someone else’s skill. I want to discover me and my life without wasting time.

But then I guess that’s how you learn and you grow and that’s how I am where I am today; by wasting a little bit of time to get to a conclusion. Which doesn’t make it waste AT ALL, it makes it beautiful life-giving experience, even if it’s hard, confusing or painful at the time. This is life: painfully beautiful.

What I was really trying to say in that ramble is that I don’t want to spend my life being anyone but myself, but it’s taking me time to figure out who exactly ‘myself’ is.

I like the way the late Steve Jobs puts it:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”