An Open Letter to a Younger Me

To My Younger Self, There Are Some Things I Think You Should Know

A letter to my younger self, full of advice and things I wish I knew earlier.

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To a younger me,

You're probably running around in dance class or throwing your babysitter out of the house right now-good times. But Ash, time goes by quickly and before you know it the days of being a careless, curious and naive little kiddo will be over. So just listen to me. There are some things you should know.

People are going to say what you want to accomplish in life, isn't possible. And when that happens, don't listen. They're gonna keep saying it all throughout your life. You'll never really feel like you have support for your hopes and dreams, aside from the support you receive from your own family. But keep your head up. You know exactly what you're meant to do, just follow your heart and trust your intuition. You will leave some sort of legacy in this world, but that legacy starts now. Dream big. Take risks. Love more. Hate less. Make every single day of your life on this planet count. Life's too short not to. Do not be afraid to go after what you want, even when sometimes it feels like everyone is telling you not to.

You're going to miss elementary school a lot when you're older. Hold onto those memories. There's going to be an elementary school across from your college dorm. You're going to walk to class and see the little kids running around, laughing, and playing tag at recess. And then you'll smile. A lot. You're going to think to yourself, I wish I was still that young. I wish it was still that easy. So have the best time decorating gingerbread houses with Miss. Crocco and singing Hallelujah with Mrs. Hammond after lunch and being Helen Keller for the wax museum project with Miss. Martin.

Your family will grieve. A really bad thing is going to happen to you when you're in 7th grade. You're going to feel like the whole world is falling apart. You're going to see your parents cry for the first time. You're going to see your town in news headlines. You're going to see the police in your neighborhood. And things won't really ever be the same. But, you are strong. Everything after this gets easier. Even when mom gets sick, remind yourself that our family is one of the most resilient families I know. This too shall pass. Just hold everyone close and say I love you every time you walk out the door because you'll soon learn that the real world is much scarier than it seems. And as much as I hate to admit it, we don't know how much time we have left here.

Sometimes you have to cry. And that's okay. No matter what age you are or what's going on in your life, there's going to be some days where you just need to cry. Honestly, sometimes it just feels good to let everything out. You don't have to be so brave all the time. Life is hard, that's just how it works. So go ahead. Turn the lights off in your room. Listen to some music. Lay on the floor or in bed. Take some deep breaths. Close your eyes. Take some time for yourself. You will feel so much better once you clear your head.

Your heart will get broken, more than once. Yeah, so at first this is going to suck. You're going to feel awful about yourself, blaming yourself for everything that went wrong in the relationship. But know, that's not true at all. In fact, it's just the opposite. You'll learn from this. I can promise you that. But, you're still so young. You were just too naive this time around. There's going to be this point in time where you really regret everything about this relationship. Don't beat yourself up. It happens. But it's one guy, it's one person out of the 7.5 billion people in the world. There's someone out there waiting for you. You'll see.

"One Tree Hill" will actually change your life. Yeah so you're going to love this show and it's going to make you realize a lot about life. You just have to watch it to understand what I mean.

You will have some of the best friends you could ever ask for. I'm smiling right now just typing this. When you're about to leave for college, you're going to be scared about losing all of your friends back home. This, I can tell you, won't happen. Your friends are the actual best people in the world. You're going to have so much love for them, and they're going to have so much love for you. You made the best memories in senior year and those memories are only going to grow once you're all in college. Don't stress. Just remember to call. Remember to communicate and update each other while you're away. And get excited to go home and finally be with them again. There's no better feeling than that.

Bring headphones with you everywhere. You're going to be listening to music all the time. You love music. And when you're older, you're going to be taking lots of plane rides to go back home. So take your headphones with you please. Okay, that's all.

No matter what, your heart will always be with your home. You thought you were eager to get out of town, you thought you were ready to leave and explore another part of the world, but soon you'll realize how much you miss home and just your town itself. You'll miss the creamery, late night diner runs, the flagpole, looking at all the dresses in the window of Sabrina's as you drive by, going to the general store... I could go on and on and on. Leaving isn't easy at all, and you're about to do a lot of leaving and say lots of goodbyes more frequently. You're going to appreciate home so much more when you leave, so do me a favor and make the most of the time you have left.

You will fall in love. And it's the best feeling in the world. Just wait.

With love,

Your future self

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9 Things We All Did In Middle School During The 2000s

We're all guilty of it.
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Middle school. The most embarrassing years of my life. I look back at my pictures and just wonder why in the world would I do that? Why did I look like that? How did someone let me do that? But to be honest, I wouldn't want it any other way because I wouldn't have something to look back on today. Just about every middle school girl can relate to this:

SEE ALSO: 15 Food Items Every 2000s Middle Schooler Was Addicted To

1. Getting "married"

I don't know about you but I took my "marriage" very seriously. We had a 25 cent ring and everything. We called each other "wifey's" to top it all off. Believe it or not, we even had a wedding video. It was pretty legit. Then I found out she was also married to another friend in our friend group. It was a sad breakup but we worked through it and she's my best friend to this day.


2. Duck lips

The legendary duck lips. The bigger the lips the better. I went through a phase where I don't think I ever took a picture with my teeth showing. Why did we think this was cool? I wish I knew.

3. Atrocious wardrobe

Sophie shorts ring a bell? I think I had one in at least every color. Oh and don't forget about my soccer ball ones that I just HAD to wear to soccer practice. What about tying your shirt to the side or tucking in the front of your t-shirt to your shorts? For some reason, this was a long-running style. I am not sure how.

4. Forward messages

Those messages were so annoying yet fun. If I didn't forward those I swear I thought something was actually going to happen to me.

5. Learning everything on the bus

From bad words to inappropriate anything. You learned what things were and where things came from. I learned more things on the bus than I ever did in school.

6. Festivals

They were the best thing to do on a summer weekend. You couldn't miss it. Although no on really rode the rides or played games. It was basically a giant get together for your side of town with a bunch of middle school drama.

7. Awkward mirror selfies

Don't lie, we've all taken them at some point.

8. Edited pictures

There were edited pictures with irrelevant words surrounding our faces. Or writing the words "BFF's" around it to make sure everyone knew that you guys were best friends. At some points, I would actually have people like my status for me to make them an edited picture. Consider yourself lucky if you didn't. Pic Monkey was my life.

9. Webcam pictures

What're you doing tonight? Oh, just taking pics on my webcam.

SEE ALSO: A Playlist Of A Middle Schooler From 2007

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Wessel

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Nostalgia Is Such A Powerful Feeling

It's amazing how such a simple feeling can make you feel so many different emotions.

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As I get older, I can't help but think about my childhood. When I do, I think about things like Fruitopia, Kids WB, and Disney Adventure magazines.

I'm a 90s baby, and these are some of the things I was exposed to growing up in the 2000s. Thinking about these things, along with other parts of my childhood, makes me tear up sometimes.

These moments make me realize how powerful the feeling of nostalgia truly is.

If you've ever thought back to something in your past that you enjoyed, you'll most likely experience a bit of nostalgia. These days, it seems everyone is willing to let it be known that they've got nostalgia for their childhood.

For instance, I've been out in public and seen people my age with the iconic "Kim Possible" beeper sound as their ringtone. This sounds cliche, but hearing that sound takes me back to a simpler time. I just can't help but smile when I hear it. I also can't help but tear up a little, because I know I'll never be able to go back to that time period.

When we're kids, sometimes we don't take the time to appreciate the things we have while we have them.

I think that's what helps nostalgia be such a powerful feeling. As a kid, I hated commercials and just wanted to watch my favorite shows. Now I find myself going to YouTube and watching commercial breaks from the 2000s just to remember what it was like to watch TV back then.

Nostalgia is also pretty powerful because it can affect your judgment.

I'm sure we all have our favorite movies and shows from our childhood that we loved when we were younger. Truth is, you probably haven't watched a lot of those shows since your childhood and only remember them as these amazing and hilarious things. In reality, that show you liked when you were in third grade is probably terrible.

I had one of those "what on earth" moments when I rewatched "Rocket Power." I know a lot of people grew up with it and loved it, but watching it now, I realized it's not a very good show. It panders way too much to kids that like extreme sports, and it feels like it was written by adults pretending to know what kids that skateboard talk like. It's not really funny either, and you know what? That's perfectly fine.

A show like this is was obviously made for 7-year-old me so I would go out and buy all the radical merchandise. It wasn't made for the cynical, sarcastic 21-year-old me. Any time I get reminded of "Rocket Power," I want to go back to when I first watched it because I'd love to experience it again for the first time.

That's the power of nostalgia.

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