You have so many exciting things ahead of you. Getting your license in a few days, applying to college’s soon. The world is waiting for you Bell - you are a strong, beautiful, capable, and driven woman. I want you to enjoy all of the best parts of being seventeen. Like, driving around with your friends in your first car, getting accepted to your dream schools, screaming at the top of your lungs in the stands at the last home football game when you are a Senior. You have so many things to look forward to. I have some advice for you, advice that I wish someone told me when I turned 17, before I got to do all of the things that you are just starting to get to do.
Take Everything In, and Take Nothing For Granted
I know how high school can be. You sit in first period and wish it was the end of the day. How you wish Friday would come quicker. How everyone is always wishing time would go by faster - to go to lunch, to go home, to go to the weekend. My advice - please, please do not do this. I know this is hard to do when your mean math teacher is rambling on about things you will never use in the real world, but try. Look around the class room, make an effort to be nice to everyone. Try not to go through your days sleepy, but look around - take in the way you feel when you walk down the hallway when everyone is in class and the halls are silent. Look at the pictures of graduated classes on the walls. Let yourself feel grateful for where you are, and emboldened by the notion that one day soon you won’t get to walk your high schools hallways, you will need a visitors pass.
Appreciate The People Around You
Even if you are so, so close with your high school friends, when you graduate people go in different directions. You will have a visiting schedule so you guys rotate and visit each other’s schools. But, you don’t get to see your best friend every day, or laugh for hours every weekend, or meet for dinner’s at your favorite hometown restaurant. Appreciate your best friends when you get to sit on the bench with them for lunch. Look around at their faces and think about how lucky you all are to be in the same place, and how you have another year and a half of getting to see their smiling faces every day for lunch.
As Mom Says, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”
I can’t stress this enough. I know you might be upset that you studied for 8 hours for your History test and still didn’t get the grade you wanted, or you have a really hard practice coming up. But don’t let it stress you out, or ruin any of your days. If you won’t be able to remember something in a year, then do not give it the agency of being able to even negatively impact one of your days.
Appreciate Getting to Hang Out With Mom & Dad
Your freshmen year of college will make you realize how badly you need your mom. You are so lucky to go home to a mom who takes care of you when you are sick, gives you hugs when you have had a stressful day, kiss your little forehead when you are sad. Appreciate that. Remember how it sounds when dad walks through the door for dinner. Or how lazy Sunday morning breakfasts are, just hanging out with mom and dad. I miss those parts of home more than anything when I am away, so value all of those moments. How it feels to have home - cooked meals from mom every night. How nice it is to be surrounded by the people and animals who love you the most.
Always know how much your big sister loves you.