AN OPEN LETTER TO MY 18-YEAR-OLD SELF

love stories Sep 16, 2019

Hey kiddo,

I don’t think you’ll mind me calling you that. I’m not saying it to be patronizing; I’m just trying to remember which term of endearment is your favorite at this point in your life, and I’m hoping that will make you want to listen to me. I‌ know you aren’t crazy about taking advice from older, wiser people, especially when they’re telling you the things that feel like a BIG EFFING DEAL actually don’t matter.

But that’s the truth. The thoughts that keep you up at night don’t even matter any more to me. Here’s a crazysad fact for you: there will always, always, ALWAYS be thoughts and worries and fears that want to keep you up at night. I remind myself regularly that what’s bothering me today won’t matter in a year, and it helps. Maybe if you can start to learn that now it’ll make both of our lives a little bit easier.

And here’s the other thing. You know how you know yourself so well? You know exactly what you want, exactly what you need, and you’re just hoping God or the universe will grant you your wishes? You know that guy who’s just perfect for you? So perfect that you don’t even know how to speak to him or what to do with your hands when you talk to him or how to eat in front of him without your ears turning bright red and betraying you?

It’s not him.

It’s not love.

There are better things in store for you than you can imagine. I know your awkwardness feels like the worst, most painful curse. The thing is, you have no idea how you deserve to be treated, but your God-given awkwardness will spare you from having your heart broken. I know you just want to feel a little more like you belong. Standing next to petite, graceful women makes you feel like a giant, and standing next to them on a dance floor makes you feel like the lovechild of a deer in headlights and a flopping fish out of water.

But you’ll learn to own it. There’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer, and everyone (EVERYONE) is more awkward, uncomfortable, and insecure than they let on. The things that make you feel like you don’t belong now will become your superpowers. You’ll learn how to share them in a way that makes people say, “Oh my gosh, me too!” Trust me – a day comes when the high school bullshit is well and truly over, and the currency that matters isn’t status and meanness but empathy and connection.

Here’s another thing: you’re not going to “cure” yourself of your travel bug and stay in one place forever. But you’re also not going to “change the world” by traveling, so you can let go of that idea right now. Instead, you’re going to connect and learn and be changed. You’ll move from thinking you have answers to share to realizing that sometimes doubt leads to humility and is the super highway to real connection.

And love? Well, I don’t want to spoil that for you totally. I’ll just say you really have no idea what’s in store for you. Yes, there’s a great love waiting for you. But that is not the ultimate goal and accomplishment of your life. In fact, it’s going to be almost a decade before you even meet him.

I don’t tell you that to make you feel sad. Instead, take that knowledge and go through the years to come focusing on yourself, your family, your friends, traveling, reading good books… I‌ know you know there is so much more to life than romance; now act like you really believe that.

See you in a few,

KC

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