I was talking to my mother the other day, and we were discussing how we loved cooking Christmas candy together when I was younger. I asked her if I could help this year, and she said of course. It made me sad that I couldn't be around as much because of college obviously. I told her it was crazy how you really realize how special and amazing something is only after it is over. I would like to write a letter to myself saying what really is important. Maybe you'll agree with some of my points.

Dear Brant,

Hey old self. You better sit down and read this letter carefully because you need to know some things about yourself. Get ready alright? First off, stop being scared to be unique. I know you like conforming to everyone so you feel normal, but you need to stop that. Normal isn't actually a thing, trust me. You can search all you want Brant, but you will never find that in yourself. People in high school might like that, but trust me, everyone in college loves uniqueness. Go be loud and talk a lot. Be a fool around your friends just so they laugh. Be YOU. Second, get out of your comfort zone. College is going to be a huge shock for you, so you should prepare now. Talk more in class and be more active in the community. You will hate giving presentations and speeches in college. Trust me, you will do just fine and get good grades on those presentations, but your anxiety is going to freak you out about them. Try to give more speeches in class or talk more in class. Third, find out what you love to do. All you will do is go to class, go to practice, then go home for the night. School, sports, family, and a girlfriend will be your life. Try to find out what makes you click. I had to find out in college, but you can find out early which will make the transition easier for you. Fourth, stop taking life so seriously at this stage haha. Being salutatorian or valedictorian doesn't really mean anything (you won't be either of those anyways). Grades do matter a lot, but stop stressing about every single grade you receive. You will be taught that failing is the worst thing you can do. In reality the only real way to learn is from your mistakes, so yes, you must fail in order to succeed. If you mess up in sports, it's okay. I know you better than you do, so you will let it bother you for days. If you drop a pass, miss a basket, or strikeout it is honestly okay. Your medals and awards fade into the distance as you enter college anyways. People will not care at all about your athletic ability in college. They will value how loving and caring you are Brant. Fifth, enjoy the little things more. Everything that you will love doing will most likely come to an end after high school. You will find so many things to love in college, but you will miss many things about living at home and attending high school. Enjoy walking into that locker room and smelling those sweaty shoulder pads. Embrace sitting on the sideline or bench and remember that feeling. Remember how the popcorn smells at a basketball game. Take time to enjoy putting up Christmas decorations with momma. Trust me, she loves having you help her. Enjoy carving those pumpkins or dying those Easter eggs. Enjoy those proms and Homecoming dances even though you can't dance. Enjoy the shenanigans with your buddies. Someday you won't do many of those things anymore. Sixth, love our parents more. I know you want to be on your own and grow up, but you can't rush it. Stop fighting with Mom and Dad because they really do know everything. They will be right about everything it's insane. Something they say might not register right away, but in the future you might make a mistake and remember what they told you. You will miss them terribly in college. Your'e a momma's boy so that is going to weigh on you. She's the most important person in your life. Don't forget it. Last but not least, life is a bitch. You have a wonderful family and you live in a small town. You have never been exposed to death or real pain yet. That is why you should be thankful, but once you get to college you better wake up. Death will enter your life. People will hurt you, you will feel like you have no idea what to major in, and life will be confusing. Be hopeful and be thankful. People do love you and always will. You will find amazing friends here, men and women both. Some are going to be with you for the rest of your life. Love them unconditionally as they will do the same to you. You're going to do great things Brant. You are very smart, loving, and people love your presence. You make so many people happy, and you matter to so many people, don't ever forget that. Remember this, "Be someone that makes you happy."

Sincerely,

The Person Who Knows You Best