Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Love Letter to My 17-year-old Self

(note: the following is not an attempt at neo-self-therapy . . . well, maybe it is. You decide)

Dear 17-year-old Self,

First of all, I love you. You are valuable to me. The memories you're creating at this time in your life will keep you happy for years to come (and they will come in handy for exploitation and fledgling writing material), so enjoy! Remember all the times you go club dancing at Grand Central Station, and at Cloud Nine in Knott's Berry Farm. Cherish your last year as a band geek and as a drama dork. Never mind that you didn't get to try out as a cheerleader.

You know that vague and fuzzy future of yours that you're always worrying about? Don't worry about it. Everything will work out. They will not work out smoothly, but you will always be okay, eventually. Stop stressing about college and what happens after. In a couple of years it won't matter.

Speaking of college, you will eventually realize that you should not believe everything you are told. Winding up at a Cal State University because you have less than a 4.0 GPA is not a bad thing. And going to junior college is not academic suicide.

Pay attention to that desire to dance and sing and act and perform. It's not unrealistic and it's not shameful. It will not happen for you as soon as you like, but you will get to perform, and you will love it more than anything in life.

There is so much I want to try to reassure you about, such as your secret feelings for guys. Don't stress or worry about that, either. It will take over a dozen years before you have peace of mind about that, and it will get a lot harder before it gets easier. But I promise you that it will not always be hard.

Try to remember me, your Future Self, when you can. Reach and grow toward me, in your mind and in your heart. I am here, loving you and waiting for you.

And I'm just the in between stop in my own here-and-now. Trust me when I say that there is an even older version of you yet to come, an older Future Self and also amazing things-yet-to-happen that neither you nor I can even imagine right now - I just know it!

Hang onto hope. Stay optimistic. Never stop dreaming or creating or imagining, even on your worst days. Allow some time now and then to let yourself feel hurt (you'll need it) but don't wallow for too long. Embrace it, try to process it, and move on, because you'll always be able to.

Whenever you're feeling insecure, inferior, or even just a little uncertain, try to remember that your Future Self loves you. Never forget that.

I love you. Always.


Louise Larsen said...

That is so sweet.

I love that.

This is what the inner dialogue sounds like in my head when I look into the faces of my children.

I hope I can be the kind of parent that is also, occasionally, a loving "Future Self," to them as well.

Very touching blog post. Thank you for putting this up.

:o) Louise.

KK said...

Peter this is beautiful. Don't you wish your 17-year old self could read this and know that it will all work out? Every kid should read this. Nice work.

And by the way, I loved you as a 17-year old. You were vivacious, funny, and one of my favorite people. I'm thrilled to see you back in my world again, even if it's only through cyberspace for now. Hugs to you, Peter!

golfwidow said...

A note from one of your future friends: Your hair is awesome.

Lori said...

Peter I loved this! I just may have to write my own. It really is too bad your future self can't pass notes back to you. It sure would come in handy.

Michael DeAntonio said...

Your 17 year old self had some big hair. I enjoyed reading this tremendously. What a lovely pep talk.

quin browne said...

a note from another of your future friends... you smile stays as brilliant. your acceptance of others inspires them to be more open to people they would perhaps step away from. your loyalty to those you care about is humbling...and, yeah, the hair is rockin'.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

What is this--an attempt at neo-self-therapy?

Stephanie said...

What a lovely post. If I think about this in reverse, it can be very reassuring too. As a 29 year-old who is absolutely FREAKING OUT, maybe if I just imagine my forty-year-old self being that reassuring and self-confident, I can worry less, and do more.