A Letter to My Younger Self
Dear Younger Self,
In whatever moment you are in right now, remember that the pain won’t last. Hold on tight to that promise as you dry the tears from your eyes, as you question life’s motives, as you writhe in anger. While you live each day with the hand you have been dealt, know that the deck is forever being shuffled. No two seconds will ever be the same, and your future is guaranteed to be vastly different than your past was. Recognize with certainty that the decisions you make today will become catalysts for tomorrow, and this in itself gives you the ultimate power that you need to survive this moment.
When you are confused or unsure, ask yourself, “What am I leaving out of my understanding of this problem,” and think big picture. Find comfort in knowing there is always something larger than yourself. Find solace in the fact that we are all more alike than we are different and find peace in knowing we are all in this together.
Know that even when you think you have nothing, you always have something, however small it might be and however hard you may have to look to find it. Appreciate what you have now, for these things do count for something. Sometimes in life, a grain of sand becomes a castle, a seedling flourishes into a rose, a cloud of dust becomes a shooting star, a sentence expands to a novel, a caterpillar to a monarch butterfly or a newborn baby into a beautiful, majestic human being who has the power to decide what matters in life.
Try not to be so bitter about the past. Yes, it was unfair. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it sucked. And it has made you everything you are today. Do your best not to carry your resentment into this moment; it will eat away at you and make you a skeleton of a human being. Hate will kill us slowly and it will devour all the joy from our spirits and the innocence from our souls.
Do your best to start fresh with each new morning, for every day will bring with it something that will try to bring us down with its own setting sun. People will be cruel. Luck will run out. Bad things will happen to good people. We will do things we are not proud of. It is in letting go that we find freedom, it is in starting fresh that we find the vision we need to move on. It is in taking two steps forward that we create a new beginning.
Sometimes you must be your own hero. Sometimes the rest of the world and everyone in it is going to let you down. There will be moments you find yourself utterly, utterly alone with no one to show you the way, no one to hold your hand, no one to guide you. Forgive them anyway. Most of the time, they know not what they’ve done, and the rest of the time, they are still only human, imperfect, and flawed by nature. Their forgiveness is your own healing.
The secret to happiness is finding joy in the little things. Take time to appreciate the small moments that make life worthwhile; the parts of life that can’t be purchased or fabricated. The early morning sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean, the warmth an unexpected hug brings, the smiles that come with genuine gratitude on a Christmas morning, the way your dog meets you at the door on a cold and lonely night, first kisses, new love, growing old together, the smell of a fresh book in your hands, the sound of a song you haven’t heard in a long time, the first snowfall of a season, a good memory, a freshly baked cannoli and the feeling of accomplishment. These things don’t have price tags, yet they are priceless in and of themselves.
To the reader, remember as you view this letter that this is my story, this is my message to my younger self. Your narrative is different, special, and unique in its own right. Do not let anyone tell you anything different. Do not ever let anyone make you feel less than, for you are certainly more than they will ever be. From your first breath to your last feel empowered to be just who you are and have no shame in sharing it with the world. Nobody has earned the right to dictate your autobiography. There is freedom in knowing you are free.