A letter to 15-year-old me, Prompt by The Daily Post on WordPress

I stumbled on a fun little writing prompt, for the original check it out at: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/good-tidings/

But here it is also:

“Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.”

Now, for some context, it’s important that you know I’m 25 now, so this letter goes out to 15 year-old me, who lived in Colorado Springs and was still getting to know my now step-dad. On my 14th birthday, we had left my dad and moved to Austin for a few months before moving to Colorado. I think, for now, that’s all I’ll say to the reader directly. Enjoy.

Dear Self,

Life has been crazy for you. You’ve moved between three states in a year, gone from low desert to high desert, from Phoenix to Austin to Colorado Springs. But there’s hope for you man, and you’ll make it through.

The biggest challenge you’ll face will be your desire to feel liked and the confidence issue that comes with that. For at least the next ten years, you’ll be haunted by that, and it’ll get gradually worse over those years. You will, in fact, find a girlfriend at some point, but your romantic relationships will be haunted by your lack of self-confidence which comes from your overwhelming desire to be liked. This won’t just be an internal struggle, and it won’t just affect you. After you’ve entered military service, which you’ll only do a single cycle of, you’ll get married. But your lack of confidence will be the main thing that costs you that, and it’ll be the most painful thing that happens to you for at least the next decade. Your heart will break, in a way that can’t be described with words. All of the problems you face, that included, will be founded in that desire to be liked by others. It’s something you’ll only come to start actually addressing in the winter after you’ve turned 25.

However, there will be some positives and they’ll overshadow that struggle by far. The most rewarding thing you’ll do is become a writer. You’ll start in two years, with poems in looseleaf notebook paper which you’ll staple together and call “books.” You’ll keep these forever, and they will form the foundation of all your writing. You will in-fact enroll in college, but I won’t tell you where because the surprising wonder of the place would be diminished, but it’ll be worth waiting for. Still, when you get there, you’ll bounce around between majors a little bit before finding English, and then suddenly you’ll try journalism, and the rewards will be endless. You’ll put yourself on the map immediately by somehow getting an interview with some football coach who will end up having a stadium named after him, and by the dumb luck that you do that, your boss will immediately take note. After that you’ll struggle but slowly improve. The most rewarding part about it will be that you’ll be allowed to go find people and learn their stories and tell their stories for all the world to hear. Your work will earn you some criticism, but it’ll earn you a huge amount of praise, not just from others but from yourself. That’ll be what keeps you going. 🙂

The most fun thing though is something you have no idea you’re destined to do yet, and that’s dance! You won’t be great at it, at least not for 11 more years, but you’ll enjoy it! You’ll get a better workout than you ever thought possible, you’ll work with better teachers and better people than you realize are possible. You’ll spin and jump and move with such incessant ease and enjoyment that you’ll have wish you started earlier. You’ll be completely different from anyone you know, and it’ll make you feel good! You’ll be the goofball who laughs at himself, gives high-fives and comes in seemingly with more energy than should be possible at those hours, but you’ll leave class exhausted and yet craving more. It’ll be a greater rush than anything you do, which is crazy because in the next 10 years, you’ll do some pretty freaking fun stuff that makes your heart beat really really fast. But none of it will compare to the feeling you’ll have when you leave dance class. Songs you hadn’t heard before will take on new meanings as they become associated your head with certain movements: from 16-count bicycles to the song played during cool-down in Jazz 1. All of it will be good! When you hear hear the song for the former, you’ll get fired up because you know you’re about to work. When you hear the song for the latter you’ll get giddy and excited because you’ll know after every class, and forevermore when you hear that song, that you earned your right to be there and you definitely belong right there withe everyone else.

Lastly, that childlike joy you have now, that excited thrill you have at life: I’ve got some great news about that. It’s never going away. You’ll keep it, hell you’ll take pride in it! It’ll be what defines you at your very heart, and it’ll make you different from most of those you know. It’ll also draw you to some really cool people. So get excited.

Dear self, I truly wish I was you. I wish life had a rewind button that I could go back and play over and over and over again from the start, even if I had to forget when I’d seen before, just so I could go through it all again. God is good, brother. Hang in there. I’ll see you in ten years. 🙂

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