Dear 15-year old Adrianna,
You still don’t know me, but I know you very well. We’re only 10 years apart. I decided to write to you because as our 25th birthday was approaching, I found myself reflecting a little more often than usual about what I’ve learned during these past few years and how these experiences have shaped me into the woman that I am today. I know how hard it is for you to take someone’s advice (even if it’s coming from yourself), but I only wish that when you read this letter you take the best out of it, and even though there’s still a lot more for us to accomplish in this life, I hope that you’re proud of the person that you've grown up to be, because I’m extremely proud of the woman I've become.
Now, and for starters, stop trying to fit in. You are unique and amazing just the way you are and I truly want for you to see that. I know that it can be difficult sometimes and I know how much you want to “belong”, but honey – there’s a world out there that’s waiting for you and you never belonged in that small bubble in the first place. With time you’ll realize that all that petty high school nonsense means nothing; it is a complete waste of your time, trust me. By age 21 you’ll live in Spain for several months to do a study abroad. You’ll meet tons of people, travel like it’s nobody’s business and it will be the experience of a lifetime. By age 23 you’ll be moving and starting a new life in New York City (yes, dreams do come true when you work really hard for them), so what you’ll be facing in high school and college doesn’t even compare to what lies ahead of you! Just focus on doing what makes you happy.
On that note, stop doing things that won’t make you happy! “Well, obviously!” you might think, but I know you too well and at times you tend to forget to make yourself a priority. You can’t please the entire world you know, it’s an unreal expectation. Accept it and put yourself first a little more often. Also, don’t dwell on the past – it’s an exercise in futility, same as stressing about the future. Each and every day, strive to be a better person than who you were the day before, and in regards to the future, as long as you keep doing what you love (even if you do it as a side thing), I promise that you’ll find your way.
Carpe diem. So cliché, right? But seriously girl, seize every single moment and opportunity that comes your way! You’re a big goal setter, you’ve always been, but sometimes you let your fears and insecurities get in the way. Don’t. Stop it and try this instead, set some time during the day to work on something (anything) that will get you closer to where you want to be in the future. It can be something simple or complex, but whatever it ends up being the point is to get you working towards what you want to achieve in life. This reminds me, don’t be too hard on yourself either; remember to have fun while you’re at it! Work hard, play hard – it’s all about keeping that healthy balance and enjoying the ride!
Correspondingly, know yourself, be yourself, love yourself and forgive yourself. If you’re feeling lost, seek within, the answer is always there. Never apologize for being you, for always giving it your all, because that’s what makes you special. Love your strengths as much as your weaknesses and forgive yourself for not meeting your expectations at times, because you are not perfect. Nobody is. Those who truly care about you will accept you for who you are, flaws and everything.
Once you begin to practice self-love and acceptance, you’ll be ready to feel and give love to someone who deserves it, and I know you’re only 15 but you’ll get there eventually. At that point in time, love fiercely and don’t apologize for it. There are people who’ll never get to know what loving someone truly means, but one day you will and you’ll see that love is something beautiful, though at times it might feel terrifying. But let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling a little vulnerable, it only means that you are human, that you truly care about someone and that you have strong feelings for that person. On this matter I just want to give you one last piece of advice, be mindful of who you share your heart with, because it is a treasure that you should not hand away that easily, the right person will have to earn it.
Lastly, no one is in charge of your happiness except you. Own this and pursue what you love, pursue the things that move you! Take charge of your life, make plans, set goals, prioritize, don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do, what’s the worst that could happen? You get up, you wipe it off and you go at it again! Don’t regret a single thing because everything that you’ll go through in the coming years will set you up to become the person that is writing this letter to you today. Take risks Adrianna and never stop learning, growing and improving.
With all my love,
25-year old Adrianna Naomi