letter to my 13-year-old self

hey buddy.

life sucks right now, i know.  you’re going through puberty while your mom is going through menopause.  ten years from now this will be a little bit funny, but right now it feels awful.  i promise that you will be better for it, even if it takes years to realize this.  until then, here are some things you should know:

some things are worth doing because they are ridiculous and you will have great stories to tell for years to come.  this list might include climbing on rooftops, duct taping your friend to a couch, staying in a hotel room with a glass shower with the most platonic of buddies, and various instances of public nudity.  some things, however, are just not worth it.  things that are not:

  • smoking
  • stealing
  • lying
  • cheating
  • multiple all-nighters in a row

stop stressing about dating.  it will happen when you are ready, and when it does, it’ll feel like slipping into a pair of form-fitting jeans.   it will be with someone who is worth the trouble, who makes you feel comfortable in your skin, who is willing to si(f)t through your damage and find the parts of you that are vibrant, silly, and adventurous.  you are eventually going to leave this person, and that’s okay too.  sometimes jeans stop fitting.

you have really great friends.  they’re going to change, and you’re going to change too, but you will find a way to make it work.  in ten years, you will still have things to laugh over and stay up all night talking about.  of all the things in your life, this will hopefully always be the last thing you have to worry about.  keep finding new and unusual ways to express your love for these people, because they will be the ones you’ll turn to when you need to be reminded of yourself.

try harder to speak, read, and write chinese, okay? not taking the time to do this could be the thing you end up regretting most ten years from now, when you are struggling to tell your parents what exactly it is you do for a living.  you will grow to resent the ambitious econ majors in your college intro-level mandarin class and feel like an imperialist for seriously considering teaching english in china just for the language immersion opportunity.

start dancing now.  it will make you know yourself and other people better.  you will learn how to communicate.  you will be happier.  it doesn’t matter that you are a clumsy oaf 95% of the time, because there will be that 5% when you realize you are stronger and more powerful than you’ve ever given yourself credit for, and this will change everything.

and then you will blog about it!!!

love,
your 23-year old self

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