Dear Jessie/JWalk/Sass/Ms Jessica,
I haven’t thought about you in a long time, and for that I’m sorry. There haven’t been any reasons in the last few years to give you any consideration, but now I realize just how long it’s been. Of all my past selves, you might not be the most important, but you’re still pretty damn cool… at least for a 14 year old. (Modest and unbiased. Don’t find that too often.)
I’m writing today to let you know that, as a ‘grown-up’ with a ‘real job’, life is really good… but I miss so many things about growing up. I know this is stereotypical and cliché, but I feel like I should remind you of a few things and give some advice:
Visit and talk with extended family as often as possible; they won’t be around forever.
Work your butt off for the things that matter, which includes swimming, but also the physical therapy. Your shoulders will thank you later.
Keep writing. It’s true that some of your “poetry” was rather teen-angst-y for a while, but it still had potential. Also, don’t dismiss your achievement of getting published in the junior high journal in 8th grade.
Take care of Rainy and Buster. I know you already do this and couldn’t love those silly fat cats any more than you already do, but trust me when I say that it hurts like hell when they’re gone.
Don’t lie. Fibbing now might fix something small, but it’ll make a hell of a mess in the very near future. If you make a mistake, own up to it and move on.
Trust and care for those that care for you. Anyone who tries to treat you like dirt isn’t worth your time or energy. This includes old friends that don’t deserve your love anymore. Realizing the time to let go is a strange and difficult process, but sometimes necessary.
Appreciate your parents. They put up with a lot from you (and will deal with a lot more when you’re 16) and they still do everything they can to make sure you’re safe and happy. Self, if you’re reading this, stop, and go tell them you love them.
You know that house you’re living in? Appreciate that too. Appreciate the heck out of it, ’cause I’ll tell you what – it’s a great house, and I miss it all the time.
Learn how to put your pride aside so you can ask for help. I know junior high and high school aren’t the best places to do this, but if you can’t feel comfortable asking questions now, it’ll just get harder in college.
Write more. I know you don’t realize it now, but I’m gettin’ old and it gets harder and harder for me to remember anything about you or your life as the years roll by. Please, please, write for me. Write so I can remember every bit of it.
Remember who you are and what you stand for.
Oh, and PS – don’t let the silly high school boys bug you too much with their idiocy. You’ll meet Cullen in about five years and everything will be wonderful.
I wrote this post after the WordPress Daily Prompt gave me the idea. I might only be eight years older now, but those years from 13 to 18 held the biggest changes in interests/passions, relationships (romantic and otherwise), goals, and views on life. And yet… not so much has changed after all. I still put family above all other commitments; I still hold the same political views (with more justification); I still understand the power of knowledge and experience – and I now possess much more of both.
Perhaps I’ll do a letter to my future self sometime…