Dear Eight Year Old Me, Believe In Yourself, Everything Is Fine

Dear Eight Year Old Me, Believe In Yourself, Everything Is Fine

Believe in yourself and no matter what obstacle is in your way, you’ll overcome all odds.
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Dear Little Dougie,

It’s been a while, about 12 years to be exact. I understand that it might be inconvenient for you receiving this letter at a very emotional time in your life. However, you will learn that there are much worse and even better things in the coming future.

What you saw on the bus the other day was one of the hardest days of your life. She was beautiful, wasn’t she? You know, that girl. Her smile touched all the corners of the world and still came back in time just to say, "I love you." When she kissed you, it was something that you’ve never felt before. It was almost a dream. You never really cared that she was taller than you or that she was one of the most popular girls in the third grade. All that mattered was that she sat next to you on the bus (a GIRL sat next to you, oh my god) and was willing to love you for who you are. However, when she kissed another boy, you never knew exactly what was going on.

At. All.

The fact that you are EIGHT YEARS OLD WITH A GIRLFRIEND never helped either. Yet, you felt your heart drop so low that it drilled through the Earth’s crust and exploded at the core. The worst part? You still had no idea what was going on. She then came to you the next day and told you it was all over. You knew that already and you still apologized. You still forgave her. You still waved to her in the hallway. Why?

Well, you remembered what Momma Dukes taught you: kindness, forgiveness, appreciation, and love. These things have saved your life, and will continue to save your life for years to come.

Within the next few years, you’ll realize that life will get a lot harder. Middle school happens, and you won’t like it.

At. All.

You’ll keep having crushes. Your crushes will keep denying you. Your awkwardness will still be there (it will never go away, trust me). You’ll be in the principal’s office your first year there and burst out in anger in English class the next. Seventh grade is a lost memory and eighth grade is okay, but no more than that.

Although these negative issues are apparent throughout your middle school saga, your friends (old and new) will always have your back no matter what. You’re also a really damn good soccer player and that’ll help you IMMENSELY. The most important thing you need to do is remember the same thing mom preached to you at home. Kindness, appreciation, forgiveness, and love.

Once high school and college come, I can honestly say that these will be the toughest and best years of your entire life. No, it won’t be like "High School Musical." Nope, you still won’t be able to keep a relationship. Yes, you’ll get cheated on about two more times. Your best friend, unfortunately, will not have long to live. You’ll fail your driving exam before passing it (you'll also hate driving in Garden City after that). You’ll be miserable in a three-story library trying to pass Calculus 1 (you know math is the devil’s nectar).

However, you’ll be able to go out more, travel around the country and the world, and explore. You’ll meet some of the most important people in your life, for good or for worse. Your grades will be at all time highs. You’ll also realize that you’re pretty talented and start winning awards and medals.

Outside of relationships, almost everything will go just right if you keep working like a madman EVERY SINGLE DAY. Education is your biggest weapon. Use it, master it, and you'll go farther than any place you've gone before.

I know it’s kinda scary that it’s you sending yourself this letter, but don’t fret. Believe in yourself and no matter what obstacle is in your way, you’ll overcome all odds.

By the way, remember that aquarium trip you took the summer before 3rd grade? Make sure you thank yourself later for that. And trust me, you’re stronger than you even realize. You don’t even know.

At. All.

Regards,

Doug

Cover Image Credit: Oecd Education Today

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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10 Pieces Of Advice From My Parents That Have Helped Me Survive This Thing Called Life

I don't like admitting that they're right, but they've helped me through more than they'll ever know.

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As I've entered my 20s and have made it halfway through college, I've learned that life can be hard and challenging at times. Like many kids, when I was growing up, I could care less about what my parent's advice or opinions were. Nine times out of ten, I would do the complete opposite of what they said. Once I got older and actually started listening to their advice and put it into perceptive, I learned that they're right more often than I'd like to admit.

1. Don't take things for granted

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I've learned to cherish what I have because I might not always have it. It's easy to take life itself and many things it involves for granted. They've taught me to take a step back from this crazy life sometimes and be grateful for all that I have.

2. Don't be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve

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My parents have taught me that if you feel something, don't be afraid to say it or embrace it. If you love someone, then tell them. Don't be afraid to put your heart out there just because you might get hurt.

3. Be vulnerable

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In life, in relationships, in your work. Take risks, get shot down, and then try again. Being vulnerable is scary yet so powerful.

4. You can never have too many shoes

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Otherwise known as it's okay to treat yourself. Life is hard, so take care of you. If that means going on a shopping spree every once in a while, then so be it.

5. You're going to be okay

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Whatever it is you're going through, you're going through it and you're going to come out on the other side. It may seem horrible now, but you'll learn from it and be okay in the end.

6. You have to have friends in life

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It's important to have people to lean on, especially on your bad days, and to celebrate with on your good ones. You can't just have you or a significant other to rely on.

7. Never be afraid to share your opinion

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Don't be afraid to put your thoughts and opinions out there because they might be wrong. They could have a huge impact on someone or something.

8. Don't stress over things you have no control over

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Everyone is on their own path, which means everything will work out the way it's supposed to, even if it doesn't make sense right now. Again, you're going to be okay.

9. Happy, healthy, wealthy, wise

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My dad always says if you tell yourself every day that you're happy with yourself or your life, you're healthy and strong, you're wealthy in love and surrounded by great people, and you're knowledgable or wise, then you can achieve anything in life.

10.  S*** or get off the pot

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My all-time favorite piece of advice. Making decisions can be hard and scary, especially if the outcome could be getting hurt in the end. So, you either make a decision and roll with it no matter the outcome or you walk away.

Thanks, mom and dad for always being a phone call away when I need it! Just know that your advice and words of wisdom don't go unnoticed. For others, your parents have been on this planet much longer than you have and most likely experienced the same situations that you're dealing with. They don't have all the answers, but they are there to help.

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