An Open Letter To My Younger Self
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To My Younger Self

I don’t have all the answers to the questions you have.

An Open Letter To My Younger Self
Tim Dodds

Dear Younger Self,

I don’t have all the answers to the questions you have while lying in bed at 3 a.m. unable to sleep. I do, however, have updates on life.

First, do not sweat the fact that you do not know everything. Do not sweat that you don’t always know what the right thing to do or say is. No one does. No one at this moment in time knows all the answers to questions you have. The television doesn’t have the answers. Books don’t have the answers. Praying doesn’t present the answers. Adults don’t have the answers. Adults have experience. Listen.

No one has the answers because everyone is wandering through life just as you are. Don’t let that fact discourage you. Understand why that is. Understand people. Understand backgrounds. Understand perspectives. Understand beliefs. Never let go of your curiosity.

Second, don’t be normal.

Being normal is easy. Not in the sense that it is easy to become but rather to stay normal. Some people, by pure chance, have qualities that in this point in history are socially acceptable and favored. It gives people an air of confidence or smugness.

Because they’re born with that quality, they assume they are innately better than one who does not have the quality. That smugness is intoxicating. Social acceptance does not equate a quality to be right. Remember that “normal” is forever changing.

As humans evolve, so does the perception of normal. Whatever is normal is flawed by the fact that that humans are not perfect at that moment. Strive to find the next normal, even if it is not normal at the moment.

Today’s weird may be tomorrow’s normal. So be weird.

Being normal is not as interesting. Weird is interesting. A person is only weird in relation to what people perceive as normal. A person is not weird innately. Being weird means you have a different view, a different perspective, a different quality.

Being weird means you grew up differently than everyone else. Being weird means you were taught differently. Being weird means you were treated differently.

We are one in the same species yet varied individually by pure chance. You believe a particular religion by pure chance. You eat a particular food by pure chance. Embrace your story. Understand others’ stories.

Lastly, don’t be foolish.

Don’t be foolish enough to assume you are destined for great things. Don’t be foolish enough to think you are given your abilities for a reason. Don’t be foolish enough to think you’re amazing.

You’re lucky.

Lucky you have a certain pigment of skin. Lucky you’re a certain gender. Lucky you’re the youngest of three kids. Lucky you have two loving parents who are married. Lucky you went to a private school. Lucky you were given a certain body. Lucky you have an athletic ability. Lucky you have the money to visit other cultures. Lucky to be alive.

But don’t be foolish enough to interpret these truths to be depressing. That luck is amazing. Of the many different statistical scenarios to evolve, you happened! Rejoice in that.

You have many talents as well as flaws. Evolve yourself. Be aware of yourself. Understand yourself. Question yourself. Push yourself. Love yourself.


A Fellow Person Trying to Understand Life

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