Dear high school/college self,

Thanks for documenting every painful, humorous, trivial and excruciatingly terrible detail of life in your journals. They provide endless hours of amusement when re-reading them, as well as some moments of pride at bursts of unexpected maturity.

If I could, I would sit next to you and say only four words: “It’s gonna be OK.” Or at least, those are the words I’d start with. That guy you’re so in love with, you’ll get over him.  I know, I know. You’ll never love anybody else. You don’t WANT to get over him. You can’t imagine life continuing without him.  IT WILL BE EMPTINESS AND FUTILITY! Well, my dear, life goes on — and quite well, I’d say.  Surprisingly, the world does not revolve around him and his what-you-now-think-is perfection. One day you’ll be grateful, so VERY grateful, that he didn’t stick around.

That situation that is SO SERIOUS and a CATASTROPHE, it won’t feel that way forever. Someday you’ll be able to get through a WHOLE day without even thinking about it, you won’t cry whenever someone brings it up and you’ll be stronger for it — just like that Kelly Clarkson song says (yup, she’s still belting out tunes!). The angst will dry up, the emo/terrible poetry will stop (to the glory of God and all that is good in world), and everything will turn into character.

That incredible awkwardness and gangly-ness? You’ll grow into it. Promise. Though you were a GIANT for what seemed like FOREVER in school, one day you’ll be just “regular,” in comparison. You’ll even stop feeling like a middle-schooler (on most days, at least) and start experiencing this thing called “confidence.” It’s pretty great. You will be far more comfortable with yourself than when you tried to be punk, (oh dear goodness, the terrible clothes and jewelry!) or had boy-short hair (why? WHY did i do that?) or didn’t understand what your style was (“if it fits and is cheap, I’ll wear it” won’t be your go-to requirement). You’ll still be awkward, though. It’s in your DNA. But I promise, it’s mostly just funny now. Hopefully, it’s also endearing, but it is definitely a reliable source of amusement.

And also, growing up won’t mean your personality will change. You’ll never be flirtatious or coy or calm or quiet or any of the characteristics you so envy in those terrible Christian romance novels you’re reading (seriously, younger self, start reading better books!). But that’s not you. And someday you’ll find that’s really OK.

So buck up, kid. Life’s only gonna get better from here. Scout’s honor (I know, I know. I’ve never done Girl Scouts, but I swear!).

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