Were there ever thoughts that frequent your mind and made you wish you could travel back in time? Were there ever things you wish you could tell your younger self? Were there ever lessons you wish you could imprint in her heart and soul?
Dear so-much-younger Aly,
1. These hardships are meant to make you stronger. Yes, really. You will thank God later you went through all these. You wouldn’t be this determined, this headstrong, this bold if not for those instances in life that had you question your existence and purpose years before, that had you cry yourself every night, that had you second-guess if there is really a God, that had you experience the extremes of envy and self-pity at the same time. Now, won’t you give credit for the quality of person you are now to all those tough times? You weren’t born a queen. You were born a warrior. And looking back now, that sword truly got you through everything. That crown, no matter how polished and enchanting, would have never saved you.
2. Listen to your parents. That person they warned you about, those friends they have been wary of, the choices you took that they never approved…The list could go on and on. The knowledge you have of technology and the modern world could never compare to the wisdom of their years. And they gave you all those rants and sermons in the loving hope that you wouldn’t later on spend your valuable time feeling bad about having done the same mistake they had (which clearly could have been avoided), that you would hopefully make better choices (those that they failed to take), that you would have the most out of life as you are already handed a life blueprint. These people have been for you since the nanosecond you drew your very first breath. They would always want the best for you.
3. Go after what makes you happy. Fvck the expectation of the world of what your next step’s gonna be. Every step you take should be a step towards your happiness. That course you have been forced to take, those friendships you tried so hard to fit into, those relatives you have been compelled to respect…they wouldn’t make you happy. Go after what your heart tells you. Your gut feel is there for a reason.
4. Have fun. Slow down. Don’t be too eager to grow up, to finish college, to get a job, to go overseas. Live in the moment. Every year of your life is a year for something. Don’t jump over stages you essentially have to go through.
5. Never allow yourself to be a pushover (yes, even over the most minor of things). Let yourself be heard. If you think you are being abused, bullied or deceived, speak up. It is never wrong to stand up to people even older than you if it is as clear as day that they are not right. Don’t turn yourself blind or overly considerate just so you can avoid confrontation. These people will continue being abusers to others, most probably even to those who are weaker than you. Teachers, older schoolmates, relatives, acquaintances…don’t ever let them shame you. Stand up to them. Do not become another of their trophies.
6. Have faith. Pray every night. Pray as much as you can. Never falter. Never give up. There is God. He is looking at you.
7. You will fail. And it’s absolutely okay. You won’t graduate with the honors you thought you would because of a lone subject you have always disliked that caused your final average to be short of point something disqualifying you of that honor. It’s okay. You will be unemployed for the first six months after you graduate from college. It’s okay. You will find yourself broke most of the time. It’s okay. Cut yourself some slack. No one’s judging you (No one that matters, anyway.). Use all these failures to your advantage. Learn from them. Promise yourself to come out even more successful.
8. Be kind. Be positive. Always. Be the kind of person you would want in your presence all the time. Cultivate an air of good vibes. It will not stop bad things from happening but it will make bad things a whole lot bearable.
9. If they don’t like you, who cares? Don’t be trapped in the illusion that making them like you is the ultimate goal of your life. If they don’t let you sit with them, don’t cry over it! There are so many possible friends in this planet. The world doesn’t revolve around their whims. Don’t ever change yourself and never be embarrassed for who you really are just so you can be with them. Real friends don’t need any convincing.
10. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to be the first. Do not be afraid to move mountains. Do not be afraid to defy gravity. Do not be afraid to fly. Do not downplay your dreams and aspirations just because someone hasn’t done it yet. Do not limit yourself to what society thinks is possible and achievable. Do not. Release your inhibitions.
With so much love from 2015,
the older (and hopefully wiser) Aly#