Dear 9-year old me,
Right now you are 22 years old and about to graduate from college–congrats! College is great by the way, you really enjoy it. Anyway, on the verge of your jettison into adulthood, I decided to write to you to give you some well-needed advice. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble. There’s just some things that I think you should know that might have made these past 13 years a little different:
Wear dresses. In a few years you decide that you don’t want to wear anything remotely girly because the little boys won’t want to play with you. That’s just stupid. True, you end up with a bunch of really awesome guy friends in high school, but you miss out on a lot of key girl lessons that prevent you from really understanding girl-kind. Plus, people pick on you in high school for looking like a ragamuffin all the time. Believe it or not, the majority of your wardrobe in college is made up of dresses and skirts. Talk about irony.
Don’t dress your little brother up in dresses. It may be cute now, but you’ll pay for it later when he’s taller and stronger than you. (However, the picture of him in the tutu is still a family favorite so that one’s okay.)
Broccoli is really tasty. I’m serious, it’ll become one of your favorite foods. Actually, a lot of the foods that you think are gross end up being seriously delicious. Except for paté, stay away from that stuff.
Do more musicals. You’re good at them and meet some of your best friends doing them. When you get older you get so busy with other things that there isn’t time to do much theater. Besides, there is just a small window of opportunity to qualify for one of the Von Trapp kids…
Don’t be so shy. I know you don’t like to put yourself out there, but there are a lot of things you’ll miss out on because you’re afraid of making mistakes or what other people will think of you. You are an extremely bright little person with a lot of great ideas so share them. What’s the worse that can happen? I’m not going to tell you but it’s really not that bad.
Surprise! You’re an introvert. That means that you like to think… A LOT. This may not mean anything to you now, but you spend the majority of your youth thinking you’re an extrovert and that’s the reason why you get overwhelmed all the time. Oh, and there’s a difference between being shy and being introverted, so don’t use it as an excuse. It’s rare to find introverts who understand their extreme talents for introspection, so take advantage of it now.
Growing up is more fun than you think. I know you’re afraid of puberty and going to high school and having to act like a grown-up all the time, but you’ll change your mind. Yes, there are days when you miss making mud pies and playing dress up, but there are a lot of things to look forward to, like driving, wearing adult clothes, and getting to see whatever movie you want.
Don’t take your family for granted. I know you love your family now (you always will), but make sure to really cherish the moments you have with them and etch them into your memory. When you get older the memories of the times you are all together will become more valuable than you can imagine. Also, whatever happens, remember that it’s not your fault.
Be 9 years old. You’re just a kid, so try not to put so much pressure on yourself. If you’re not careful, you’ll spend your high school and early college years with an anxiety disorder because you think it’s up to you to keep the world turning. It’s not up to you to keep Mom and Dad happy or the family together or your friends from failing–that’s not your job and it will never be. Also, your future career doesn’t care what your GPA is, so you won’t need to worry about that too much.
Learn to love yourself. You try so hard to be perfect for everyone else that you forget to be the person God made you to be. Yes, you’re awkward, and no, that doesn’t go away, but you find friends who love you for it and wouldn’t change you for a thing. God will use your crazy ability to blurt out random facts and your disabling compassion and concern for others to do some truly amazing things. Stop comparing yourself to your sister, everyone else will do it enough for you. You are you. You are nerdy and bad at small-talk and socially-awkward and creative and talented and smart. Just watch out for your sophomore year of high school, because that awkwardness is inevitable and embarrassing…but you’ll live (consider burning all photo evidence, though).
Don’t regret anything. I don’t. You’ve done pretty well for yourself, kid. You got me where I am today and, although there were some cavernous bumps a long the way, I wouldn’t change any of it. You go through a lot in the next 13 years (gathering enough material to fill at least two seasons of an HBO miniseries), but know that you make it out alive and you learn from it all. Just keep doing what you’re doing now and everything will end up working the way God planned it to. God’s plan may not look like something you want to sign off on, but He takes you on an amazing ride that will change you for the better. He seems to know what He is doing.