If you could go back in time to give yourself advice what would you say?
You may have heard the country song “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley where he talks to his past self as an old friend — sharing secrets, giving advice, and showing himself that sometimes trials turned out to be lessons in his life.
I decided to try something similar on my own. Read ahead and you might just find yourself reminiscing on things in your past that you wish you would’ve known.
Dear younger me,
It’s sophomore year of high school and you just turned 16. Your world is about to get bigger and better now that you have the freedom to drive. Little do you know, in a few years, you’ll have farther places to go and bigger leaps to take. It’s hard to see your life outside of the high school cafeteria and football games, but even if you could imagine it, I doubt that’s what you care to think about.
When you join the high school volleyball team, you’ll look forward to being a part of something bigger than yourself and “repping” the silver and green on your home courts. Just make sure you don’t put too much of your confidence in the hands of that coach — remember it’s only a game. Sitting on the bench and watching the popular girls play all three matches while your sweat dries might make you feel worthless, but you will find others who can build you back up.
When you join the club team, you’ll become a whole new player. Finally you’ll be surrounded by girls and coaches who want the best for you, and who want to see you succeed. You’ll realize that putting too much importance in something so temporary will only drag you down.
Fast-forward to senior year. You’ll be anxious and excited to get out of town. When you finally leave the place that made you feel stuck in the middle, fresh experiences and new people will help you realize your potential. It will come when you take a leap of faith.
You don’t need to cut ties with friends at home. Most will fall away naturally. The important thing is to realize what you value so you can start with a clean slate in this new place. Not everyone will know you as the overshadowed side-kick to your high school best friend. People will see you for what you have to offer, and you’ll be comfortable and in control.
Your view of the world is still so small. Your perception is clouded by the idea that these people will be your friends forever, and that you won’t change even though you’re going to school across the country.
The summer before you head to Auburn, you’ll feel a renewed sense of confidence. After meeting that boy at freshman orientation, you’ll also have a ton of motivation. It’s time to get in your best physical and mental shape. You’ll want to start this new adventure feeling like the finest version of yourself.
You’ll be relieved to discover that making new friends, joining clubs and having coffee dates will make you feel whole. Remember that boy from orientation? Yeah, that will turn out to be so much more than you imagined. You’ll even go on dates at the Rec because you can’t get enough of each other — even though you’ll both have busy schedules. He will show you that there is more to a relationship than you’ve ever known. Dating and having fun in college will unveil a future you can be excited about.
So, I want to tell you that the world is so big. There are so many people you have yet to meet, and so many feelings of belonging, comfort, and confidence waiting for you in the right place. When you find your friends, they will love you for who you are and push you to be better. Before you know it, you’ll be the person you thought you could never be. High school was a limitation of your passions and potential. Get ready to go out into the world with the confidence to be you, and don’t forget to live each day to the fullest.
You’ve always told yourself that everything happens for a reason, and now is your chance to see where it all might take you.
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Cat S.