A letter to my 17-year-old self

31 May

Dear Emily,

I know that you have been feeling overwhelmed, scared, and a little emotional lately. Don’t try to push those feelings away. Graduating high school is a big deal. The more you deny those feelings, the harder it will be when you leave for Purdue in the fall.

As you prepare for college, don’t stress too much about finding a summer job. Yes, it’s a good idea to keep yourself busy so that you aren’t lost in your thoughts day in and day out, but enjoy the time that you have off, too. And when your friend offers to help you get a job at Steak & Shake, don’t complain about smelling like greasy, fried food or not being offered enough hours. The people you work with will teach you something. You will realize why you are going to college.

And Emily, that boy that’s causing you to mope around? He’s playing with your feelings. In fact, in four years he will be married and it will not be to you. You won’t be ready for marriage in four years anyway. You’re young. Enjoy being single for the next few years- you will learn more about yourself than you ever could with a boyfriend. You will meet the person you are supposed to be with when you least expect it, and he wouldn’t even think of hurting your feelings. You will fall in love- just give it time.

As far as college goes, don’t be afraid to try new things. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Join clubs and organizations. Get to know your roommate, even if you don’t always get along. Try to appreciate the new experience, even if you are homesick. And if Purdue doesn’t work out, that’s okay. You don’t have to be on a straight and narrow path- in fact, your journey will be anything but that. Be prepared for changes, changes that will be for the better. And don’t feel like a failure if you want to take a semester off to figure things out. Don’t listen to what other people say- you will go back and finish. You will graduate college, even if it takes a little longer than four years. Don’t let confusion and changes upset you- other people go through it too. It is all a part of learning experience.

Finally, Emily, stop and look in the mirror. Look in the mirror right now. You are beautiful. You are thin. You are fit. Stop telling yourself otherwise. There is no need to workout seven days a week when you get to Purdue. Just because the gym is a three minute walk from your dorm room does not mean that you need to go every second you get a chance. Nor do you need to carefully watch everything you eat. While it’s okay to make healthy choices, it’s not okay to deprive yourself from sweets during the week, so that you end up eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a bag of M&Ms on Friday night while your “friends” go out drinking. About drinking- if you don’t want to do it, don’t. And don’t apologize for making that choice. You will hear too many stories of girls who messed up their relationships, their friendships, their bodies and their minds, because of alcohol. Trust your instincts, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your decisions.

Enjoy this summer, Emily. It may in an in-between stage, not a high schooler, not yet a college student, but it’s a time for you to reflect. Enjoy time with family. Enjoy time with friends- although you may think so now, they will not be your friends forever- enjoy their company while you have it. The next five years of your life will fly by. Soon your youngest sister will be the one in your place, and you will wonder where the time went. You will be in a similar place that you are right now, only a college graduate, looking for a job, figuring out life. Don’t rush to get to that point. Life goes by too fast. Just embrace it. Just enjoy it.






2 Responses to “A letter to my 17-year-old self”

  1. Sara @ The Foodie Diaries May 31, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    This is precious!! I love looking back on old letters/notes I wrote to myself and seeing where I was then, and where I am now 🙂

  2. runyogarepeat May 31, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    I love this – you hit on so many good points that girls that age experience. It’s very obvious how much you’ve grown in these 5 years. I wish my 16 year old self would have been more laidback instead of having too many self-imposed pressures.

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