It’s me. Well, you. You in the future. When I think back to this year that you’re in, your sixteenth year, I smile. It’s hard to think of what I struggled with–what you are struggling with–at that age. I can think back to fourth grade. (Are you still blocking out that you were once that kid? Well, it becomes less embarrassing when you’re older and is part of your story, one that you share freely, because you were just an angry kid who screamed and refused to go to school. It wasn’t one of your prouder moments, but you grew up and learned from it.) And I can think back to middle school, because those years were tough.
It makes me happy to look back and realize that it takes some deep reflection to think of what you might need to hear from me. Sixteen wasn’t such a bad age. You basically looked ahead to your future and immersed yourself in your stories.
Keep doing that! Writing anything and everything that comes to mind now–no matter how silly it might seem. It’s going to help you out so much when you’re older. Yes, even those stories you’re writing because you imagine Goran Visnjic starring in a movie adaptation. You’re writing and that’s all that matters. Get those words out and learn how to plot, to create characters and, most importantly, to develop a daily practice of writing.
And keep dreaming about your future. Between you and me, if I told you what we’re doing right now, in our late 20’s, you’d probably laugh. In fact, if I told you what we did all through our 20’s, you’d probably laugh. But all those dreams and plans you’re making right now, they’re going to help shape and mold you as you get older. So keep dreaming, even the outlandish ones, and don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are silly.
Don’t listen to what others have to say about the decisions you make, either–particularly those who don’t know you well. There are going to be a lot of people who tell you that you should do certain things (like go to prom) and if you don’t do these things you’ll regret it (you won’t). They’ll even try to tell you what colleges they think you should go to. Get used to it–you’ll make a lot of decisions that are unpopular–but don’t listen to them. Listen to the legitimate concerns and advice from those who know you well, but block out the rest and don’t let them get you down. Listen to your head and your gut and make the decisions that are best for you.
Most of all, I just want to tell you to keep doing what you’re doing. Your insecurities come out and you doubt yourself. A lot. You look at people around you think about how talented they are and how much they have to offer. You are talented and have a lot to offer to those around you, too. Remember that.
Keep doing what you’re doing!