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Friday
Dec302011

Life Moves Pretty Fast

For our last Fourth Friday Challenge (which got moved to the fifth Friday of December, but that’s neither here nor there), Becky asks:

You’re in a good and growing space right now. With your gentleness and wisdom, write a letter of love and advice to a past self, a self in need. Perhaps age 14? Or 20? Or … ?

Dear Fourteen-year-old me,

The next year is going to be pretty crazy, so hang on.

Your first year of high school is going to be a roller-coaster of emotion, but you’ll be better for it. You’ll get terribly angry with your best friend about a girl, but the two of you will become closer as a result and you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process. You’ll finally start to have meaningful social interactions, which will set you on the path to eventually (a decade later) figuring out that you’re not actually an introvert. You’ll get to be a precocious freshman, which will have both good and bad parts, but the former will outweigh the latter.

Then, about halfway through the year, you’ll find out that you’re moving to a new city, a process that will uproot you from these new-found and long-term connections. You won’t try as hard to make new one as you should, but I can hardly blame you. Maybe it’s because you know you’ll only be there for three years before you go off to college. Still, knowing what I know now, it would have been a better idea to take some risks. Stick with the cross-country team for more than a year. Go to some parties. Ask the girl out. (And the other one. And the other, other one.) Keep focus in your senior year and finish high school strong.

Regardless, things turn out pretty well. Four years from now you’re going to meet this funny, smart, beautiful strawberry blonde. Seven years from now you’re going to ask her to marry you and she’s going to demonstrate an inexplicable lapse in judgement by saying yes. Things are going to be crazy for a little bit yet; from my vantage point the benefits beat the costs. And more than anything, it’s the next year when you really start to figure out who we are. I know that you’ll pay attention to it; I remember that. Somewhere between your now and my now you’ll forget to do that as much as you should, but we’ll get it back.

Enjoy the ride. I’ll be waiting when you get here.

—Thirty-three-year-old me

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