My very good friend, Little Fei has a younger brother about to start college. She wanted to give her brother a present to help him start this new chapter, so she asked all of us with a few more years life experience (read - old) to think about what advice we would give our younger selves. She is going to collect all the letters and put them together in a book.
So I sat down and I wrote a letter to my younger self. I thought of me in my late teens and early twenties. I really enjoyed the experience and it made me think about who I love the most, and why. I am lucky enough to have a very special group of fun and fearless souls to call my friends. (Actually, there are a lot of 'f words' that describe us... but that's another story)
Here's my letter:
I know this is the scariest and most exciting time in your life right now. And I know that sometimes you feel much older and sometimes much younger than your age. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know yet – you will learn. Sometimes the lessons will be fun, funny and amazing but sometimes the lessons will hurt so much they take your breath away.
Control is an illusion. I know that seems hard to understand right now. You are so young and so powerful, you can create whatever life you want for yourself. But, control IS an illusion. If I could wish one thing for you it would be this – may you know just how powerful and valuable you are, and may you have the wisdom to know that your choices are half chance. You cannot control what will happen tomorrow, you cannot control how anyone else will feel about you and most of all, sometimes, you cannot control how you will feel about yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up about what you don’t have or what you can’t do. There is enough negativity in this world. Instead, choose love and honesty for yourself, your friends and your life.
Not all of your friends will stay with you forever. I know that is hard to hear but every person on this earth is on a journey.
Some people will stay with you for life – they are there to help you build strong emotional foundations. Let them help. Let them in to your life.
Some people you will meet for a season – they come into your life and make everything fun and light. They feed your soul in ways you can’t expect. And then one day, you won’t see them anymore. It is nothing that you have done. They just need to carry on with their journey. Remember these times.
Some people you will meet for a reason – remember what I said above about lessons? These friends will be there at amazing times in your life. They will see you at your very best or they may see you at your very worst. They may hurt you, and they may love you, more than you have ever felt possible. Whatever they do, they will change your life. When it comes time to leave them behind, don’t mourn their loss or regret that you ever met them. Pick up your heart, put down the emotional baggage, and walk away knowing that you are better for the experience.
Which brings me to my final point – ask for help. Whenever you need it. Don’t think you have to do everything on your own. You ARE strong. You ARE capable. But sometimes being a good friend means knowing when to lean on those you love. You are loved. Be brave. Be fearless. Everything is going to be okay.