Now I understand why people used to ask me if I was Amish
Remember being 15? Of course you do. High school is a time in our lives we’ll never forget, no matter how much many of us want to. Like most 15 year olds, I wondered about what life would be like for me once I moved out of the family house and created a life of my own. At 15, your independence is so close you can taste it. Yet you have no real idea what it feels like.
Because I’ve always been a writer, I used to write myself letters. When I was 15, I wrote a letter to myself to be opened and read 15 years later. Here we are 17 years later: a couple years past letter reading time. Yes, I read it before I turned 30. Will power isn’t my strongest gift. When I was 15, I thought 32 sounded old. Now even 65 sounds young to me. I’m not writing myself letters anymore. Instead, I’m writing them to my children to be opened years later: a time capsule in words, from my heart.
Here are some clips of the letter I wrote to myself many moons ago, with my responses to that very young girl below:
Hi! Ever since I heard the idea of writing to yourself, I had to do it. I thought it would be cool to read this letter when I’m 30. It sure does feel weird writing to myself, though.
Well, kid: you get even weirder. Not only do you write to yourself as an adult, you write responses to your old letters on a very public website.
So, right now I am a sophomore in high school. I was a Varsity Cheerleader until I quit. All of the getting up in front of large groups of people and the girls who were two-faced was too much for me. I was emotionally drained.
Good for you for doing right by yourself. Even as an adult you don’t do well getting up in front of large groups of people and can’t stand two-faced people. In fact, your tolerance for both of these things decreases as the years go by. Embrace it – you’re an introvert who likes honest, forthcoming people.
I might as well talk about my future plans now. I want to get out of this town and go to an out-of-state college and major in either occupational therapy or journalism. I want to see the world.
Good news: you’ll see lots of the world by the time you’re 30. You’ll fly on an airplane for the first time when you’re 18. You’ll do even better than out of state: you’ll move out of the country because you fall in love with a Canadian and can’t live without her. You won’t major in occupational therapy or journalism, but by the time you hit 30, you’ll be doing energy healing work and writing. Almost the same thing?
As for guys, my love chart = less than a zero. I really don’t know what my problem is, I’m not even that shy, but when it comes to guys, it’s like my lips are glued and my heart is sealed off. I just can’t seem to get into them.
You never will. In fact, a year from now you will have kissed a girl and liked it. You never – not even 17 years later – look back and worry about what your “problem is” when it comes to guys. You’re gay and you’ll wear that badge proudly without a moment of shame or regret once you finally figure out what it is.
Even though I don’t plan on having children until I’m a lot older, I thought I’d write down the names I like right now to see how much they change or don’t change. Girls: Madison Taylor, Olivia Madison, Julianna Danielle. Boys: Grant Daniel, Noah Christopher and Jacob Craig.
Your taste in names has changed quite a bit, young grasshopper. Funny you should read this years later when you are expecting a baby and picking out names. Now you wouldn’t use most of those names even if someone paid you but hey – it’s fun to read ’em. When you’re in your early 20’s, you have a daughter named Noa. So I guess one of those names on the lists makes its way into your heart, even all these years later.
Why this pic? Because if I’m going to humiliate my teen self online, my sister might as well go down with me
Reading this letter to myself (from myself) helped me see just how much I’ve changed – for the better! – over the past decade and a half. It’s also helped me see into the heart I once had. The hope I had for the future, when the possibilites are endless. They still are. I’m still a nerd who writes letters. I still talk to myself. I still love life and have so much hope for what lies ahead. Some things never change. And I’m glad they don’t.
Did you write yourself letters to be opened years later? Do you now? What would you say to your 15 year old self if given the chance?