Often, we have that one school assignment: If you were to write a letter to your 13-year-old self, what would you say?
Someone asked me this exact question recently. I stared a complete blank and came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t say anything at all. Because my 13-year-old self was destined for great things and it’s my 20-something-year old self who didn’t believe in these great things anymore.
I didn’t think I was a good enough writer, a smart enough student, a decent enough person. I didn’t think my words would matter. Suddenly before I knew it, all of the light I had within myself fizzled out.
As much as my 13-year-old self would want to know how life was like in the future, I wouldn’t tell her that she would fall to the bottom of her classes in high school and be in for a harsh reality check. I wouldn’t let her know that she will be going to San Francisco for college and be denied by her dream school and that itself is a blessing. Or that the love of her life at 13, would break her heart but they will reconcile ten years later in Germany of all places.
I wouldn’t tell her any of these things because there’s one thing that separates my 13-year-old self from my 20-something-year-old self — hope.
But if my 13-year-old self could write me a letter, she would say this.
“Dear future you,
I have dreams and a lot of them. I know you remember them well, because we are, after all the same person. We share the same wavy black hair and that swing of the hips when we walk. We have that same birthmark on our right eyebrow and that sweet tooth that never went away.
But we are different. I am a firm believer that I am capable of great things, and somewhere along the line, you lost it. You don’t think you’re good enough anymore and you will start putting our dreams on hold because life calls.
But life calls for everyone. Everyone equally needs to pay bills, and they also hit bumps on the road. There are so many people who have also been given curveballs.
You’re going to be scared to go after the things you want. That job, that place you want to move to and those relationships that could have been more.
But please don’t. Please give everything another chance and one more go and grow from all those things that have hurt, belittled or have worn you out. Also, please believe you are good enough because you are.
I have a lot of dreams at 13.
Don’t let me down.”