A Letter To My 17-Year-Old Self And The 'Good Ol' Days'

A Letter To My 17-Year-Old Self And The 'Good Ol' Days'

You’re in the good old days right now, so why not start living like it?
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Dear 17-Year-Old Self,

You think life is really hard right now and rightfully so.

Chemistry is going to be the death of you. No one has asked you to the homecoming dance yet. You have no money to go out with your friends after Friday’s football game. And you’re trying to juggle a social life while you have a mountain of homework waiting for you when you get home.

Everyone keeps asking you where you’re going to college, when you’re taking the SATs and what you plan on doing with the rest of your life. They want to know how many schools you’ve applied to. They want to know your Plan A, Plan B and Plan Z. But you don’t know the answer to any of those questions. Heck, you don’t even know when your next history test is.

I get it. High school is tough. You’re still trying to be a kid, but everyone is pressuring you to grow up. So please hear me when I say this: don’t listen to them.

And let me tell you why you shouldn’t.

A couple weeks ago, my best friend and I went out to dinner. She’s getting married in a couple months (congrats, by the way, you’re the maid of honor), so we decided to have one last hoorah of a weekend.

We sat in a Longhorn Steakhouse for two hours that night talking about our lives and how much they’d changed over the past few years. We talked about our jobs and all of the responsibilities that came with them. We talked about benefits and life insurance and retirement money. We talked about what it was like to live on our own and move out of our parents’ house. We talked about her wedding and how she would be living in a different state in a matter of months.

At one point she got up to run to the restroom. While she was gone, I sat there thinking about all of the other times we’d gone to dinner at Longhorn. This had been our go-to place ever since we got our driver’s licenses. We went after basketball practice on more than one occasion. We went for each other’s 18th birthdays. We went when we’d had a crappy week at college and needed a meal that wasn’t from the dining hall. And every time we went, at one point or another, one of us would inevitably say:

“I can’t wait to ______”

It never failed. We would talk about how we couldn’t wait to graduate high school. We couldn’t wait to live on our own. We couldn’t wait to finish college and get real jobs. We couldn’t wait to get married. The list went on and on.

If I could go back right now, I’d tell myself to stop saying that phrase, to stop worrying so much about what was next. I’d grab my 17-year-old-self by the shoulders, look her straight in the eye, and tell her to enjoy the season she was in right then.

Andy Bernard from "The Office" said it best when he said,

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

So do me a favor, and take my advice. Enjoy where you’re at, and don’t try to grow up so fast. I know being in your 20s sounds exciting. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of great things about it, but there are a lot of things about not being in my 20s that I wish I could get back.

I wish I could go back to wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt to class instead of having to dress up every day for work.

I wish my biggest cause of stress was my pre-calc test on Friday instead of trying to figure out my 401-K.

I wish I could go back to never getting anything in the mail instead of getting bills every other day.

I wish I could just ask dad to fix my toilet when it breaks instead of having to figure it out on my own.

I wish I could come home every day to dinner that mom made instead of having a bowl of cereal for the fourth time this week.

I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the idea. There are so many wonderful things about being in high school and just being young in general. Don’t waste these years wishing you were older, richer and more independent. You’ve got plenty of time for that. Trust me.

I want you to look back on these days and smile, knowing that you lived every single one of them to the fullest. Sure, you’ll make mistakes. You’ll get bad grades. You’ll get your heart broken. But those things will pale in comparison to the memories you will make in this season of your life.

You’re in the “good old days” right now, so why not start living like it?

Cover Image Credit: Kristen Camp

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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Pride: A poem

Hell, I still love you.

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The word love

Is a very complex one;

Often times thrown around

far more often than it should be.

I knew the true meaning of love when

I first laid my eyes upon you

You were perfect.

Perfect in ways you could not even yet conceptualize.

I gave you life;

But, you became my life.

Your first word.

Your first day at school.

Moments that made life worth living.

One day you said you felt different;

You didn't feel like everyone else;

You'd felt this way for years

But this feeling was not just a feeling;

It was who you were.

The masses played with video games and played rough sports—

You didn't;

You were delicate.

Far more delicate than other boys.

You may not have played with the same toys,

But, hell, I still love you.

It only seems like yesterday,

You told me you had gone astray

From the normal social stigma

But you are still my little boy,

And, hell, I still love you.

Pride.

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