Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Letter to Me

Dear 16 Year-Old Me,

I know this seems a bit strange, but having gained 10 years of life experience, I would like to share a few of the things I've learned with you.

First, high school is not going to be the highlight of your life. You've almost gotten through it, and I can promise you that things get better. College is a whole new ball game and most of those people that seem so important to you now, you won't see or talk to once you graduate. So don't sweat things now. Just try and hold out for another year or so. The world is much bigger than Glasgow.

Speaking of college, make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities available to you. Have some fun. School work is important, but it's not everything. Sometimes you have to just kick back and have a good time. Also, don't rush things. The real world isn't as much fun as you think it will be, so take your time in school. Take some classes that don't count toward your major but look interesting. College is a time to try new things and meet new people, don't waste it.

You will make new friends in college. Some of them will be your friends for awhile. Some of them won't. But they all have something to teach you. Pay attention. And be yourself. Anyone who is worth knowing will accept you for who you are. If they don't, you don't need to waste your time on them.

Make friends with people who are different than you. Those are the people that can teach you the most. It's easy to stay within your comfort zone, but stretch yourself. You'll be glad you did.

You are going to date a few guys. Don't worry if things don't work out. It's for the best, trust me. It's not wasted time, it's life experience. Even the bad decisions. Just enjoy what you have while it lasts. Oh yes, dating doesn't get any easier. It still sucks, even at now, but being able to order a drink does take some of the edge off. Just be willing to take risks.

I know it sounds cliche, but if you get the chance, sit down and talk to your grandparents. They have a wealth of information to share with you if you take the time to listen. And once they are gone, those stories are lost forever. Hug them when you can, too. I know at 16 you feel like you are going to live forever, but remember life is fleeting. Everything can change in an instant.

Make sure you spend time with Mom. She really is pretty great, but you won't realize that for a few years. Try to notice all the small things she does for you. And save all those notes she will send you when you go off to college. She is going to piss you off at time, but just remember that she loves you, and everything she does is out of love. The little things. The big things. All of it. She loves you and nothing else matters.

Things won't always be like they are now, so make the most of it. Things are going to get rough, but you will make it through. You are tougher than you know. And you will come out stronger on the other side. Always remember that things will get better, no matter how bad things seem. It's okay to ask for help. Rely on your friends if you have to. In fact, the tough times will show you who your true friends are. Don't worry about the ones that run off, they weren't worth the time anyway.

But most of all, remember to love yourself. I know you don't particularly care for who you are now, but learn to accept who you are. Wishing you are someone else won't get you anywhere. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you are someone who people want to know. They are lucky to know you. Why? Because, you are wonderful. You are beautiful. You are unique. You are special. Trust me. You are going to love the person you will become. I do.

See you in 10,


P.S. You really can make a career out of science. Just be willing to work for it.

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