Monday, October 01, 2007

Letter into the Future

I've seen this on several blogs lately, where the challenge is to write a letter to yourself as a teenager. So, I did my best to tell my high school self about what's to come, and what I wish she could understand. Enjoy!
Dear High School Jessica,

As you're beginning high school, I know it seems overwhelming. Especially since you haven't quite mastered self-tanner cream, you're not sure how to kiss (or even flirt for that matter), and all your friends are across town at Memorial H.S. But I'm here to tell you--you're going to love it.

If you could fast forward through senior year, I could guarantee fun and games from here on out. But, just know that 12th grade is the exception to the rule. Start preparing now--it's a bumpy road. I'm happy to report you make it through with flying colors--and a lot of life lessons that will change who you are for the better. The reward for this heartbreak will be four years in college and you will love every stinkin' minute at OU.

I have some advice for you. You won't listen, as the school of experience is the best teacher. But, in case you could here is what I want you to know.

You won't end up alone. And even if you did, it would be better than wasting hours, tears, and energy over some of the boys you think matter. Don't get me wrong--there are some great guys you stumble across along the way. But, man, do you know how to find a couple of losers!

What I really want you to know is not how it ends up. Because the truth is your heart will break into pieces more than one time. And you'll meet THE guy long before you're smacked in the head with the realization he is THE guy. What I want you to know is how amazing you are all by yourself. I wish I could prove to you that you don't need a guy to make you special or worthy or even attractive. You have been smart and full of possibility since you were born--YOU make life what it is. It's so easy to get caught up in dating that you forget who you are and what you want. Please, please remember what you want and don't let anyone change that. Depend on yourself first--you're capable, I promise!

Every girl learns the hard way....but they all learn. I did, and while I have no regrets, if I could do it all over again I would treat myself much better. I'd believe in myself a lot more.

Friendships will come and go, and once again this will be a source of much heartache and frustration. And it's constantly changing--growing up doesn't do much in solidifying friends. However, you will have lots of great friends, and keep them close. And pay a little more attention to the loud, crass girl in your choir class--she will end up being the very best friend you've ever had.

I wish I could say that grades matter. In high school they matter only enough to get you into college. But in college? Grades just don't matter. Your sophomore year at OU, when your GPA drops to a number you didn't even know existed, don't worry. I can honestly say the fun you have is worth so much more than making a better grade in macroeconomics. Or French. In fact, change your foreign language classes to Spanish right now. It will be so good for your career. So, while it's probably bad advice, you know your limit--skip the classes you want and hang out with friends. Just know you'll have to work that much harder to pass later on!

A word on forgiveness. There will be a lot of opportunities to both give and receive forgiveness. It might be the hardest thing you ever have to do, and it's something you have to teach yourself. After you teach yourself the value of forgiveness, you will have to wake up every morning and choose to forgive. You will not always find it easy, and it may take a very long time to finally give in and forgive. But holding grudges and being angry is not worth it. It's just not. So, forgive those who need it. Especially those that love you, and even those who don't ask for it. Walking around as a ball of anger all the time does nothing for your health or your demeanor.

This will be much easier to realize once you have to ask for forgiveness (which you will). Second chances are better than first impressions--just ask your husband. And one other thing--forgiving yourself is harder than forgiving any one person. But prayer can help you through that.

A few random pieces of info to look forward to?

There will be a newfound interest in college football (I know it sounds crazy but just go with me). There will come a point in time where you'll fly all over the U.S. for work BY YOURSELF. And you'll step into a cab in L.A. one day and realize how strong and brave you really are. It's exhilarating, this moment of realization. It makes long hours in airports worth it.

Work really hard, but don't be afraid to step back and breathe every now and then. Take time to really enjoy a cup of coffee. Keep writing, even if it's just a journal. Save all your sweater coats and satin blouses because they come back into style! Go ahead and give up shorts--your legs are just too white to wear them.

And two final things: 10th grade when you think you should cut your bangs on your own, just don't do it. That, combined with a really horrible polyester shirt will make for a TERRIBLE yearbook picture and if you ever become famous that is the one they will print in People magazine. And eat everything you can now--your metabolism will never be this good again!

Enjoy the ride!

26-year-old Jessica


Pam said...

I love it. How true, and funny. If only we could go back and tell ourselves what would be in the future. But, like you said, experience is the best teacher- it makes us who we are. I enjoyed the letter!

Cary said...

Hey, I'm not a loser!


Aubrey said...

What a cool idea! You're such a great writer, as always! I can't even begin to think what I might have told my high school self! Well done!

Jessica said...

Cary--I also said you stumble across some great guys along the way. I'm pretty sure, since we're friends, you'd fall into that category!

The "losers" wouldn't read my blog!

It's a fun writing all should try it (hint, hint bloggers!)