About 4 years ago, during the beginning of my senior year of high school, I wrote myself a letter. I wrote the letter for a class assignment, which at the time, I found very cheesy. We were assigned to write a letter to our self and place it in a capsule, where we would be given them back a year later. I wrote this letter with high school-graduate Eliz in mind. I wrote to myself about my fears for ending high school, my feelings and worries about preparing for college, and my overall expectations for the girl I hoped to become in a year. Here’s the letter –
Congrats you’ve made it! You’ve endured 4 years of stress, drama, and a lot of challenges. But you survived!
I hope you are still ambitious and finally know where you want to go and what you want to do with your life.
As I write this, I am super stressed out about my black belt test next Saturday! We’ve also barely been in school for a week, and I’m already freaking out about being a senior class officer and having the pressure to plan all these senior events and somehow not “ruin” them! I also have some friend drama, but all of these are honestly the least of my worries.
My biggest worry is growing up and I’m sorta terrified for high school to be over, because then I’m forced to enter the real world and be an adult.
I’m not expecting you to be fully ready to leave either though or grow up. But I know you’re strong enough to do it. Your ambitious personality and drive for success will lead you in the right direction, I’m sure.
I just really hope you know what direction you’re going in though. However, I support you through anything. (Please tell me that you still love writing and fashion at least and still plan on majoring in Communication!)
Now enough about the future, let’s talk about relationships and life lessons learned. I hope you’ve loved yourself through these past months and focused on your education, rather than getting yourself stuck in immature pointless relationships with shady boys. (However, if you did get in a relationship I hope you gained some lessons about yourself and life.) (OH MY GOD, MAYBE YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP RIGHT NOW?) (Let’s be honest though, you wouldn’t date anyone unless they’re Nick Robinson.)
Okay, done with relationships. On to goals. Please tell me at least some of these goals came true?
- 4.0 semester GPA
- Set up an active blog
- Make the most out of your senior year (senior trips, prom, graduation, etc)
- Get better at makeup
- Receive your black belt
- Get your license?
Also, please tell me your dream job is still the same. You want to live in NYC as an editor for a fashion magazine, surrounded by clothes. You travel and own a pink Prada purse. Wow, I’m crying just thinking about it!
So yeah, I hope everything is okay.
BTW, Did Zayn release any solo music yet? PLEASE SAY YES. Also, you’re going to London and Paris in a few months! Yes!!!”
Flash forward 4 years later, to 20-year-old me sitting in my college apartment, 400+ miles from “home”, stressed out of my mind.
I found this letter stuffed inside a Ziplock bag, filled with notes from my friends, concert wristbands, movie tickets, and other mementos I choose to keep. I had completely forgot that the freshly-graduated-from-highschool version of me, insisted that I should bring the letter with me because maybe one day, I’d need it.
Turns out, I was right. I definitely needed that letter.
When life feels like it’s crumbling apart, sometimes all you need is a helpful reminder of where you started to show you how much you grew and how capable you are of expanding. This letter was a much-needed reminder of how hopeful 16-year-old me was for everything in store for 17-year-old me’s life, and how much can happen in a year.
I was on FaceTime with my best friend, crying about a hard breakup I was going through (and still currently going through and probably will continue to go through for a while), when I found the letter. I was also crying to her about internships, trying to graduate “on time”, and also how far back I felt from everyone around me. But reading this letter, made me realize I’m just really hard on myself, and that I’ve always been that way.
I wish I could tell 16-year-old me that everything she feared, will turn out okay, because it actually did. I even accomplished all of my goals! (Except for the driver’s license. Not gonna lie to her about that. 4 years later, and I’ve had multiple driving permits, failed my actual behind the wheel driving test, developed anxiety towards driving and still have to retake it in the summer…)
Reading this letter made me see how important it is to take the time to slow down and reflect on my accomplishments and the obstacles I once feared but eventually overcame.
When I originally wrote that letter, I had no idea that I would be moving to Southern California in a year for college. I had no clue that I would meet the people in my life today and even experience my first, real committed relationship. I also didn’t know my blog, which I created just to give high-school me a platform to write and be heard, would actually help me land internships and journalism positions in the future!
But with every door that opened for me, something had to close first. It’s all bittersweet and I wish I could stop focusing on the pain of the closed doors, and instead focus on what they actually lead me to.
I’m learning that so much can happen with time and you just have to trust the timing of your life. It’s all you can do, really. There will be amazing, enchanting moments that fill your soul with excitement and love and a rush of energy. But there will also be heartbreaking moments, or things you never wanted to experience or ever planned for. But ultimately, that’s what grows and shapes you, and will push you into the right direction.
I’m going through a new chapter of my life and it feels so overwhelming and difficult, but it’s only because it’s uncomfortable and something I am not used to. Which is good, because life isn’t supposed to feel comfortable or easy! Life is made up of risks, with closed doors that lead to new, open doors, and I’m not sure where I’ll be in the next year, but I can only hope I’ll continue to grow and be someone who I will be proud of when I look back at myself again, in a couple of years from now.
P.S. 16-year-old me wanted to date Nick Robinson and three years later, I MET HIM.