Monday, April 28, 2014

Dear 16 Year Old Me...

Dear 16 year old me,

Right now you hate your life. You think everything sucks. You can't wait to grow up and get out of this "horrible town" you live in (Charleston, SC folks, seriously, I thought it was horrible).

You have a boyfriend that you keep around just because you love having a boyfriend, not because you love him.

You are in so many clubs at school that you are in just to say that you are in them for your college applications. You're in the student council, yearbook, marine science club, astronomy club, environmental science club, some other random clubs, the French club, the newspaper, DECA, and on and on and on.

You are on the Junior Olympic track and field team and specializing in long distance runs, hurdles 110m, 400m, long jump, and high jump. And you are good. Really good. Like first place and sometimes second at every competition, even states. So good that as of last year you still hold the high jump record for the team (I haven't checked this years stats yet).

You have a job, that you actually like, and a boss, that actually works with your busy school, club, and sports schedule.

You have a family that loves you, even if you're a stupid teenager and don't love them.

You think you are fat when soaking wet you weigh 95 pounds at 5'9".

You are the epitome of a typical teenager. Thinking that everything is going wrong, and it will only get better when you "grow up".

Well, let me tell you what. You have from the time you are 16 exactly 7 years to live. You have 7 years to do whatever you want to do. You have 7 years to stay up late. Go on hikes. Vacation around the world. Find true love. Find good friends. Learn all you can. Love all you can. And give all you can. You have 7 years before your "horrible life" tailspins into the life you will know forever. The life of chronic illness.

You have 7 years to do everything you want to do. 7 years to get all you want out of this life. 7 years before everything you think is so hard now, will be so easy in the future. Things that you think "suck" now you won't even have on your radar in the future.

7 short years from now  you won't even be able to stand up without almost passing out every time, you won't be able to be far away from a bathroom, you will slowly lose your ability to walk (forget about running), you lose your sight sometimes, you will have sensory issues, you will have temperature issues, you will have fatigue issues, you will have memory issues, you will have so many issues you can't even name them all.

In 7 short years, your life will be nothing like what your life that you are planning now will be as you are imagining. But it will be the life that you were given. It will be the life you are meant to live. And ya know what. It will be the life that you will learn to love. It may not be the best life. It may not be the planned life. It may not be the dream life. Or the ideal life. But it is what your life will be. And at 28 years old, you are suddenly more mature than you were at 16 and realize that life doesn't "suck" because we aren't where we want to be, or aren't getting what we want, or aren't the best at everything, and not everything is perfect. No, at 28, you suddenly realize that life is perfect and good because you are alive to fight another day. And that's all that matters.


28 year old me.

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