Dear 17-year-old self,
Believe me, I get it. The pressure is real. Anyone and everyone wants to know what your next move in life will be. What are your plans? Even the local newspaper is asking, ‘What are you going to do with your entire, precious, one-shot-at-this life?’ That’s the million dollar question.
I clearly remember the meltdown. The time you sat in your upstairs bedroom closet, looking into the soft hazel eyes of your mom and sister, sobbing over the future. You were going to be an entrepreneur, remember? You were the small town girl accepted into the prestigious college in the big city, remember? But, that night, you revealed a change of heart. And it came with flowing tears, because you felt like you were chickening out on life. Maybe you were. Or, maybe you were realizing just because you can do anything, you don’t have to.
Would you believe me if I told you in ten years you’d be married to the boy who feels like home, raising two beautiful souls, creating a life you love? Maybe you’d stop gulping for air between tears of the unknown. Right now you’re obsessing over ACT scores and college dorms. Your mind is jogging with science fair projects, prom prep and pep band. And in the back of your head, you’re constantly wondering – no really, what am I going to do with my life? How will I become someone, without losing myself along the way?
You have talents and dreams, and while some would think that makes it easier, it’s actually quite crippling. “You could be a doctor,” they say. “You could be an architect,” they say. And, while you’re wanting to do something amazing and change the world, you’ve been working your butt off to get those high grades and be the model student. You could use a break.
Can I let you in on a little secret? You don’t have to have it all figured out. In fact, stop the detailed planning. Have a basic idea of where you’d like to go, and simply live it out, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. After all, the truth is that we’re in control of absolutely nothing. And, the God of the universe has far better things in store for us than we could ever possibly imagine on our own. The gifts are everywhere, if we open our eyes and hearts to notice them.
It’s all going to be okay. I promise. You’ve got your whole future ahead of you. Don’t overwhelm yourself with planning the next 70 years. Trust me, no one needs a puddle of tears in their bedroom closet. Sit back, loosen your white-knuckle grip, and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be amazing.