Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Letters To The Past: What I Wish I Could Tell My 13 Year Old Self

Dear Sara,

You are all right. You need to know that no matter what they show on the outside, just about everyone lacks confidence in themselves at one time or another--even the pretty or popular kids. When you are thirteen, half of the game is believing that you are all right. The other half is making other people believe it.

You know what else? There is nothing wrong with being smart; learn, grow, question, thrive. There is also nothing wrong with letting other people see your smarts. Beauty fades and popularity wanes, but knowledge will last a lifetime.

On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with "not getting it." It's okay to ask questions. It's okay to fail--just don't let failure define you. Use your failures as a springboard to learning more or learning better. People who give you a hard time about failure either a) haven't experienced it yet, or b) are jack-asses because at one time or another, everybody fails. It's not failing, it's what you do with your failures that count.

And hey, you know that girl? The one who is your friend but talks about you behind your back and flirts with the boy you told her you liked? NOT your friend. Now is the time to figure out how to treat your friends and to decide how you want to be treated.

And those boys? Treat them nicely--ALL of them--even the ones who like you but you'd never dream of "going out with." Remember, what goes around comes around. (Or what comes around goes around. I never can remember that.) Either way, kindness counts, and how you treat people will be remembered for a long time.

And your parents? They are not as dumb or old or out of touch as you think they are. I promise. They really are in your corner. They really do love you. They really want what's best for you. They really were kids once. They really do understand you.

Be good to yourself. You are smart. You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. You are pretty. Someday you will look back at yourself and wonder what you were thinking when you thought you weren't. You are talented. Don't be afraid to share your talents. Don't be afraid to be yourself, even if it's different--especially if it's different--from everybody else. It's okay to fit in, but it's okay to stick out too.

In ten years, most of this stuff--the ins and outs of every day--and very many of these people will not matter.

Hey. Everything is going to be all right. You are all right.

Hang in there,
Sara at 42

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