Dear younger me,
You’re short. Accept it. When the pediatrician said that you’d be a good 5 foot 4 he was off – by like 4 inches.
Also, being the person I know you are (smart, stubborn, obsessive, creative, bored, compassionate, analytical, emotional), I’ve come up with a few pieces of wisdom to ease you on your journey into adulthood. But who am I kidding? You’re hell-bent on doing things your way, which almost always translates to the hard way. So, here’s what I’ve learned that I wish you could learn at your age:
Worry less often, relax more. You are going to face challenges that will overwhelm you, at least initially. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a hurricane. You’ll think that you will never survive with your sanity intact, that you don’t have the skills, knowledge, or strength to ride out the storm. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like giving up or voluntarily admitting myself to a psychiatric hospital. The truth is you do have the strength. You are a lot stronger than you allow yourself to be. And in the face of life’s biggest crises, once the shock wears off there’s an acceptance. “This is what’s happening,” you’ll finally say to yourself. “I don’t know how and I don’t when, but I’ll find a way to get out of this mess.” Oh, and one more thing: Life is a lot simpler than you think. The problem is that you don’t like simple – it’s too damn boring for you.
Meditate. Nearly all of the answers to life’s problems are already known to us – we’re just obsessed with getting a second opinion because we don’t trust our own. There is a spark of divinity in you, an untapped power. You have the ability to manifest whatever you desire into your reality. And along that vein…
Stop using the power of your mind in a manner that does more harm than good. Rather than imagining the worst-case scenario or believing that things will not work out, why not do the opposite? Honestly, you should have started writing horror stories instead of poetry. When you assume the worst you create a self-fulfilling prophecy. So get out of the dark recesses of your mind and start adopting a more positive attitude.
Do not allow others to dictate your emotions or how you feel about yourself. When people lash out at you, it always stems from a personal issue that they need to deal with. They may see a weakness in you that they hate in themselves; they may want to stop you from making the same mistakes they did; or maybe they’re simply dealing with a personal battle that has absolutely nothing to do with you but that causes them to unleash their anger out on you. Whatever the case, be accountable for your own actions. Your emotions are under your control, and no one else’s.
Let go of your need to control everything. There is only so much planning you can do and willpower you can use to actualize what you want. Sometimes, even the best-laid plans won’t pan out. Sometimes, you just have to let things unfold as they may, and go with the flow. The more you try desperately to control events, surroundings, or other people, the more out of control you will feel when it doesn’t work (which is 99% of the time). When you’re feeling stuck and aren’t sure what to do, your best option is to wait. Things often manage to work themselves out when we don’t get in our own way.
Health is not obtained solely through the foods you eat and the exercise you push yourself to do. Every angry, fearful, stressful or sad thought sends a message to your brain that something is off, and when that happens, it throws everything out of sync – your hormones, your digestion, and your ability to heal. Please, love your body, no matter what it looks like. The concept of what constitutes beauty is as wide and as variable as the universe. Just be grateful for every cell and every function. It’s only when things start to misfire that you realize how much your body means to you.
Don’t allow fear to color your perception or inhibit your actions. The world only seems like a scary place to those who don’t trust themselves – who don’t trust their ability to overcome life’s challenges. Not every sickness will kill you, not every person will hurt you, not every failure will stop you. The more you live in fear, the more you hold yourself back from taking chances…and it’s only by taking chances that we can initiate change and obtain what we desire.
Live in the moment. I really, really can’t stress this enough because I know the kind of person you are. You started worrying about dying when you were five. Who does that?! Just let it go. You can’t change the past and you can’t always plan for every eventuality in the future. All you have is the present. Use it to live each day to the fullest. Smile more, laugh more, have fun more. Live every moment like it’s the most important moment of your life.
You’re awesome. Change what I’ve suggested, but keep everything else the same.
And do me a favor: Don’t eat fries. Once you started you just couldn’t stop.