I was thinking the other day how different I am from when I was sixteen. So much about me has changed and I don't just mean hair color or style... even my personality. I guess that's what's supposed to happen though, right? The evolution of us as people. Yet I couldn't help but think how much easier life would've been had I just known a few simple things back then. Granted it was only seven years ago (I mean, that is a whole two-thirds of a decade! Kind of like when you were 8 but you made sure everyone knew you were actually eight-and-a-half thankyouverymuch!) I guess certain things come with age. But if I could write a letter to my 16 year old self, this is probably what it would say...
Dear junior-in-high-school, Hollister-ripped-jean-wearing, 16-year-old Kaelah,
You're having the time of your life in high school. You've got some of the best friends, grades, extracurricular activities, yet you're still so naive. It's a slightly endearing trait to have so please never trade it to feel jaded by life. You're still arguing with your mom, in typical teenage fashion, but don't. She loves you more than anyone on the face of the Earth and when you move out for college you'll realize just how strong that bond is. You're still toying with what you want to do after high school but your heart is starting to put itself into Fashion Design. It's an interesting choice, to say the least. Don't let college applications and essays get the best of you though. You'll go to college and you'll change your mind. You'll feel content with your choice and then you'll do what you always do, you'll make it fit your life as opposed to making yourself fit into it. You never really were a 9-to-5 kinda girl. You get frustrated and irritated at the "quirky" remarks and "you're just different!" exclamations but don't... they're special. Different is a good thing. You've spent all of this time growing up trying to fit in with everyone else but it's okay if you don't. Each and every one of your friends is different in some way and you'll grow to understand that in a few years. Come college you'll have a whole new group of friends (never entirely forgetting about the old, though!) and you'll have some of the very best times of your life. But as school friendships often do, they'll trickle and fade away until only a select few remain. Those few are true gems and you should cherish them deeply. You'll fight with a few of them (that's proof that you're comfortable enough with them to disagree), and you'll make up in due time. You plan dinners and coffee dates and roadtrips galore. You'll date a few dumbos just like you did in high school. You'll meet a boy and think "this is it!" but you'll realize that there's so much more out there and he is not in the final picture. You'll have your heartbroken and you'll do your fair share of breaking, but the important part is that you learn life goes on. You'll go on trips. you'll make plans, you'll take a million pictures. But in the end they'll be merely memories and a lesson learned. Rather than become jaded by many years spent with this person, let it empower you to live a different life. Rather than become complacent and pessimistic, let it teach you the magnificence of a positive outlook and a change of tune. Never forget how to be that strong and independent woman that you mother taught you to be. She lead by example and it's your turn to steer the course.
College will be fun, but hard. You won't have any type of social life to speak of, but you're okay with that. You'll work hard and sieze opportunities that you've only ever dreamt of. New York City is a big place. You'll be so blessed to have the experiences you do. Value them. Milk them for absolutely everything they're worth. The Big Apple is the perfect canvas for evolution.
You'll set goals and you'll meet them. Then you'll set even bigger ones. Please never becomes content or satisfied with life. Always strive for more. Take time to value each and every accomplishment along the way, but don't stand still for too long. Life is rapidly changing and moving at the speed of light.
Someone you haven't even met yet will leave and re-enter your life... at the most perfect time. Someone you never even gave a second thought to will reemerge and it will feel as though your life had been waiting on that single moment in time. It won't always be easy. Good things in life never are. There will be obstacles to overcome and changes to be made, but they'll be good. It is with this person that you will experience the most incredible love, as well as some devastation. You'll experience a profound loss at some point, but it is from that very wreckage that you'll pull yourselves up and grow/evolve at a rapid rate. You'll understand the terminology "blessing in disguise" and after long weeks of recovery and community outreach, you'll be so very proud to have lived through such an event. You'll learn empathy and you'll be back in the saddle in no time.
You'll make plans with this specific person. Very very special plans. You'll make plans of your own, too. Together you'll put all of these goals, dreams and ideas in motion. You'll be the perfect team. You'll be surrounded by your amazing family, as well as his. You'll truly be living your dream.
So much of the story is left unwritten, but know that you're on the right track. You're going to make so many mistakes along the way but believe me when I say that the outcome is worth it. Every embarrassing moment, every accident and slip-up. They all lead you to a very wonderful place so please do not become overwhelmingly forlorn. Continue to seek happiness and fulfillment in everything you do. You may have to suffer through some horrible jobs and bosses along the way, but that's simply reality. You have a bright future ahead of you, and best of all, you have some amazing company to share it with. Try stressing a little bit less. Try relaxing a little bit more. You're in good hands.
Sincerely, the not-so-high-school-Hollister-wearing Kaelah.
If you wrote a letter to your 16 year old self (or any age), what would you say? I know it's an incredibly cheesy writing bit, but it actually felt good to acknowledge those things. Hopefully I can pass the same words of "wisdom" onto my children one day.