First of all, I hope you know that you are loved. When I was growing up, people didn’t always remind me that I was loved and that I mattered. Truthfully, I’m still growing up at the time of my life in which I’m writing this to you. I’m turning 20 in two months. I feel as though this time in my life is a pivotal moment and I want to share, with you, what I’m learning.

There are going to be times when you feel like giving up, times when absolutely everything seems to be going wrong. It’s in these moments when you have to make a difficult decision. Do you give up or do you keep trying? No matter what you decide, please know that I will be here to support you, but I do hope that you keep trying. At the time of my life that I’m in right now, I feel like giving up. Every opportunity I’ve pursued since arriving at college, I have failed at. Many of my relationships are making me unhappy and I’m struggling to come to terms with myself.

There are so many days when I just want to throw in the towel and give up on 20 years of work. But I don’t. I keep going because I’m thinking of you. I’m thinking about all of the potential you have to live such an amazing life. If I don’t keep going and work as hard as I can, then you will not have as many opportunities. So at a time when I feel like giving up, I’ve decided to keep on going, despite whatever heartache might come. Because, in the end, it feels so much better to say that you tried the hardest you could, than to say you didn’t want to take a chance.

At this time, I’m learning how important it is to love yourself. I have incredible people in my life to support me and love me, but they are not always available to me. I’ve started spending time alone because I learned that I was relying solely on the people in my life to make me feel happy, instead of making myself happy. I encourage you to explore the value of alone time to begin a journey of self-discovery.

While you are growing up, there are going to be times when you think you hate me. I know that because there are times when I think I hate my own parents. No matter how angry they make me, I know that we still love each other. They’re my number one fans and I hope you know that I’m your number one fan, too. I’m not a mother yet, so I don’t fully understand the unconditional love that comes with being a parent. But right now I can say that I will always be here for you, through thick and thin, and I hope you never forget that.

I encourage you to take moments throughout your day to be completely silent. Beauty, happiness, and concept of self, lie in silence. Put away your cell phone and laptop. Get away from your friends and take a moment to think about the silence. Be in the moment. It will bring you a few minutes of peace in what might be a hectic and busy day.

At this particular point in my life, I’m not sure if I’ll have children. But if I do, I’m looking forward to meeting you and watching you grow into a beautiful human being. And to my parents: thank you for everything.