Dear Younger Me,
Hello there, little one. I know you feel that being 10 years old officially deems you as no longer “little,” but rest assured, you’ll feel this way no matter how old you are. At 12, 16, 18, and probably 25. The truth of it is you’ll always feel like you’re older, more mature, and plenty experienced when in reality, you know close to nothing, relatively speaking. This being said, I am your 19-year-old self and there are some things I would like to tell you based on the extra decade or so I have roamed this earth.
First of all, would you please quit wanting to grow up? I know you want to wear makeup and high heels and “grown up” dresses, and drive and go places on your own, but you need to realize that the age you’re living right now has its perks, too. Stop wishing for something that will inevitably happen and take some time to appreciate all the wonderful things you have now. Trust me, the day will come when you can do all of these things you want so badly and all of a sudden, they won’t be so appealing anymore. Makeup is too time consuming (for you, anyway), high heels hurt a lot, you’ll be wishing “grown up” clothes were half as modest as they are expensive and driving is no longer appealing once you’re introduced to traffic. I promise, the growing up will happen on its own. For now, just be happy being the buoyant and bubbly 10-year-old that you are, with your worries of spelling tests and learning how to multiply fractions.
However, I want you to know that although you may have good intentions and an innocent heart, other people might not. Be aware of the fact that many friends you make over time will be more of a hurt to you than a help. This will probably happen more in your teenage years, but you need to be able to acknowledge when these poisonous people enter your life and more importantly, you need to let them go. Don’t hate anyone. Don’t hold grudges. Be kind, compassionate, loving, and selfless. But don’t forget that YOU matter in these friendships, too. It’s in your best interest to surround yourself with the most wonderful people possible. If you haven’t found them just quite yet, don’t worry. Usually the friends you make in elementary, middle, and maybe even high school will fade from your life. But sooner or later, the right people will come into your life and they will stay forever.
Now, I’m not going to shield you from the truths of maturing in this world. I know that in the next few years you’ll be going through some rough times. Primarily, you need to know that it (life, I guess) never gets easier. With every set of candles you extinguish atop your cake, your responsibilities, stresses, and failures will multiply. But no worries. Your experience and flexibility will mature alongside these scary things and you will no longer fear them. In fact, YOU in particular will seek them out in the form of deciding to pursue medicine (yes, I know. I think you’re crazy too, but in the best way possible).
I’m not going to tell you that you’re never allowed to be confused or completely overwhelmed because that will happen often. But I don’t want you to let these moments affect you negatively. Have you ever watched rain fall into a puddle? If you watch closely, you’ll see something inspiring. The rain drops fall into the puddle, but then (by some act of physics probably concerning momentum or something—I don’t know, I’m still working on the whole physics thing) it seems like they bounce back out. Really. And the harder they come down, the further up they bounce back. I want you to be like one of these raindrops. Use your downfalls and failures to propel you to new heights. Don’t let anything ever pull you down. Always keep your head up and keep moving forward. You will learn with time that this is the most efficient and useful way to overcome your failures. Crying and succumbing to the misery of failure will not get you far, but taking your failures and re-purposing them to your advantage will always teach you and make you a bigger and better person.
Speaking of teaching, this world is relentless in that way. You will never stop learning and the older you get, the more aware you become of the multiplicity of information constantly making its way into your permanent memory. You’ll start learning so much and so, so quickly. Your brain will process and retain information faster than you can even realize it, especially when you get to college (I know that right now college seems ages away, but you’ll be surprised just how quickly it’ll come upon you). Take it all in and admire the fact that you truly are growing up.
In short, I want you to live in the present and relish every second. Embrace life and all it has to offer you. Please, step out of your comfort zone, trusting that you’ll grow more as an individual every time you do so. Stay flexible and always be positive, optimistic, and hopeful. Hold onto your goals and dreams because without them you will have no direction. Don’t be swayed by what other people try to convince you; clutch your morals and values and never let them go, for they comprise a large part of who you are. Remember that every phase of your life will have a distinct impact on who you become. So learn diligently, love freely, laugh energetically, and live passionately.
Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life, little one. I can’t wait to see who you grow up to be.
(Spoiler alert: you will literally be me.)