A Letter to the Teenage Version of Me

Today, Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky asked us to link up and post a letter to our teenage selves.  This is to celebrate her book, Graceful, which is the teenage-version of her other book, Grace for the Good Girl.  Along with a lot of other things, I wish that I could have had this book back then!  To read hundreds of other Dear Me letters, click here!

"dear me" "graceful" "chatting at the sky"

caitlin

Hey you.  How’s it going?  I am the not-so-much-older version of yourself, but believe it or not, I am a bit wiser on the ways of the world.

You are a freshman in high school.  AWESOME.  You just stopped participating in Girl Scouts about a year ago, which makes you really cool.  Just kidding.. and you know that.. so you’re trying to run as quickly from that good girl image and cause as much havoc on your parents’ lives as possible.  I get it.  The good news is that you made a lot of friends in Girl Scouts.  Stick with them.  You will still be friends years later after moving miles and miles away from where you are now and them doing the same.  Something called Facebook and Gmail chat will help keep you close, but for right now, stick to your AOL instant messenger, disposable cameras and chat rooms.  It will be good practice for the years to come.

emma and i

Anyways, you probably just found out that your parents scheduled the annual family vacation for the first week of soccer practice AND try-outs so in your haste (and really because of your fear that you’re not as good at soccer as you think), you decide to join the tennis team.  You will spend nearly every tennis practice staring aimlessly at the soccer field.  Jealousy will become your inconsiderate best friend.

Soon, you will begin to question the decision to join the tennis team.  And, the decision to blow off your sophomore classes.  You will cry and blame yourself for ‘being so stupid’ and liking that guy.  You will, for a fleeting second, think that these things are all mistakes and from that FEAR, you will then go on to act like you’ve got it all figured out.  Trust me, you don’t.

boating

I wish that I could tell you that I’ve figured it all out now.  There are some other people who wrote these letters who even know their personality type.  But, the truth is… I still can’t figure out whether you and I are a Thinker or a Feeler so we might be forever trapped in between the INTJ and INFJ personality type quadrants.

Yet, perhaps, this is the message that I was meant to tell you.  That we’re not going to figure it all out.  Ever.  We can put on the face (masked lightly with $5 Maybelline foundation) with our tennis court shoes tied tightly, facing away from the soccer players, and act like we do.  We will charge ahead with a career that we are good at, but are not really sure if it’s where our passion lies.  We will march down a path that we pretend to see, but we’re actually scared to death to take each step forward.

But, it’s OK.  Because this is life and this is the wisdom that I’m bringing to you.  We don’t have to know where we’re going, and we don’t have to pretend.  So, soak up the mistakes.  Please.  Play on the tennis team, envy the soccer players, stay out late with your friends even if you get in trouble.  Mom and you will laugh about that later.  Speak in front of the class, run for VP (you will lose, but your sister 8 years later will win).  Stay quiet, be loud, date the wrong guys, cry, laugh.

Make the mistakes.  They will make up your life.  And, one day (like today), you’ll realize that no one has any idea what they’re doing, anyways.

I’m still a little more lost than I am found, but I’m coming around.

~Josh Thompson

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11 thoughts on “A Letter to the Teenage Version of Me

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