It’s interesting to be in this position… To reserve time to glance at each of the years we’ve tackled together… 10 long years. It’s funny because each set back and success I stop and wonder if you regret anything I chose, me – your 18 year old self. One thing I have noticed is that each nap is a little more cherished, the neck rolls become more persistent and the sighs are a little bit louder. Why is that? Are you sick? Are you tired?
Before you answer that… I want to first remind you of a few things I’ve noticed along the way to twenty-eight.
I’m writing to remind you of the days when you thought your life was so carefree. At eighteen, you worried about the Friday night party, who was standing at whose locker, and whether or not you had room for one or two ice cream cookies from the snack bar line.
So much of the material that made up those days hardly held an once of value. They were quick decisions and there were so many choices made that didn’t affect the person you are today. Because today, right now… you, 10 years later… you hold value, you have relationships, you have love, you’ve been hurt and understand the true value of living and breathing each day.. Because you have also lost.
I’m sorry about those who broke your heart and your trust and ultimately up and left. But I always knew you’d find that good-love. The people in your life are something to be proud of. Not just the people but the relationships – you don’t get something like that without choosing the right person, without giving up the right person and without the need to be good for someone. You don’t get that without being hurt.
I’m writing to remind you that you once were a carefree 18 year old, but still remember, age is simply a number. You’re still that same person you were at 18 years old, you really are. Although, you’re just a little (seriously, only a little) more mature, thicker, loved, and wiser…
I’m writing in hopes that you realize it’s time to advantage of your age. You traveled, stayed up til the sun came up, went out – you were constantly out and you didn’t miss a time spent with your friends. You cherished relationships, hugged your parents every day, you read and you even locked the door, turned up Incubus and just laid there – alone.
You can still do that. You’re still the same person so get up and do it. Take time for yourself, all by yourself for even an hour. Buy the plane ticket. Don’t worry about whether you should waste the gas to go see your friends or your parents for just a day… Because you should. Dive into a book and take in each setting. You think things are hard and time consuming now? Think how hard they’ll be in ten more years (here’s another clue, you don’t need to make it hard).
I need you to stop complaining about your birthday. Celebrate you.
Do you realize how many people celebrate you every single day? Every hour and sometimes it feels like every minute, you are celebrated and honored and needed… Those beautiful children of yours, they celebrate you. I need you to see this from another’s point of view and how beautiful it is… I need you to take time to celebrate you, do something for you, even if it snows or blizzards – be grateful for these twenty-eight years. There’s so many that don’t even make it to twenty-eight.
When you were seven, you wanted to be eight to celebrate your golden birthday. From eight you wanted to be 10 – hello double digits, and when you were 10 you longed for 15 and your driving permit. Next was 16, accompanied with a license and four wheels, and then 18 because you’re FINALLY an adult and can make your own grown decisions. Alas, it went 18 to 21 to buy alcohol and join the college scene downtown. From 21 to 25 because that just sounds cool, and at 25 you wanted that to be your best year yet. But now what?
There’s always going to be something, there’s always going to be more. Take time and celebrate this age. Celebrate twenty-eight, twenty-eight and a half, celebrate twenty-nine, celebrate twenty-nine and three days. There’s so much to celebrate. Keep living, keep focused, keep it interesting. I promise, you’re doing great and you’re exactly the type of person your children need.
Your 18 Year Old Self