A letter to my high school self

I think that there’s some kind of meme going around for giving advice to your high school self. I’ve written letters to future versions of myself, and but it’s been a long time since I’ve considered retrospective advice. So to my high school self, specifically my Year 8 self, I say this.


Man, high school can be a really hard place to be. You’re forced to spend time with people who don’t understand you, who you might not connect with, and who certainly don’t appreciate your attempts at poetry. (To be frank, your poetry is clumsy, but your heart is in the right place. If you practice who knows what will happen?) You’re more mature than most of the people around you, and they tease you because you’re different. It’s hard, I know, I’ve been there.

But by jove it gets better. People who are massive jerks to you right now will one day get down on one knee and ask for your forgiveness. They will grow up to be brave, mature young men who love their families and work hard at their jobs. Some of them will be assholes as long as you know them (or at least, as long as I’ve known them, 8 years down the track).

On that note, make more friends. It’s worth it. Share your life with people, go out of your way to spend time with them. Ask people how they are and for God’s sake care about the answer. I know it’s hard for you to connect with people, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try, and you’ll be so surprised as the results. There are so many good men in your life that are worth knowing and loving. But also don’t be too bummed if you drift away from some of them, because you end up having a lot of good friends and companions anyway.

Speaking of friends, spend a little less time around Raiden and a little more time with everyone else. I know his approval means a lot to you, but loving and approving yourself will be much more valuable in the long run. In fact, I really encourage you to start writing affirmations and getting some positive inner-dialogue happening as early as you can. It will really make a difference to how you see yourself, and what you feel you’re capable of.

When things are super tough, and pay close attention to this one, remember that you are not alone. It may feel like no one can understand the tortured anguish of your soul, but people seriously do. In fact, there are people who are kind of paid to understand what you’re going through, and it’s so so healthy to talk to them and share your experiences. Seriously. I cannot stress enough how easy it is to reach out to someone and make your life easier.

Well little dude, that’s all the advice I have for you right now. But if you only remember one thing from my letter, let it be this: the greatest gift you can give others is to be yourself, your true self. You’ll light up people’s lives, and you’ll know happiness like you’ve never dreamed. Oh and be grateful for as much as you can as often as you can, that’s like super important. Peace out.

-X

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2 thoughts on “A letter to my high school self

  1. Anonymous says:

    To Ten Years Ago Me,

    You can’t keep it up forever. And don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Actually, all of that is exactly what makes the next ten years of our life (especially the next five) so damn difficult.

    It’s hard to give you much wisdom about life in general considering we haven’t really learned much since you’re reading this. I suppose I’ll let you know, right now, that everywhere is the same. Moving won’t help. Leaving never helps.

    Don’t try to share your problems. You’ll be misunderstood. You’ll be cast aside by all those closest to you. Just write it all out. On paper. And then get rid of it. Don’t leave a record. Never leave a record. Learn that now. Make it part of everything you do.

    All of your friends will abandon you. This is inevitable. They weren’t very good friends, anyway, so we don’t end up caring all that much. Just, you know, don’t make any long term plans with them. Just don’t bother with them because we don’t make any good ones for a long time. Also, don’t lend any money to Erik. He ends up buying drugs and he never pays you back. And, no, he doesn’t even share them with you.

    In a couple years people stop teasing you. And it’s because you pretty much become a total badass. At least in a certain manner of speaking. But you’re also kind of an asshole. But we’ve always kind of been an asshole, haven’t we?

    Be prepared for a lonely existence. Don’t think for a second that anyone’s here to help you. At least not for free. And they’re never up front about the price. So don’t take their hand. You know damn well that you can get up on your own. And if you can’t get up, suck it up and crawl. You are alone.

    One last thing, mate. People never change any more than they absolutely have to change. Even you. Even us. Even now, we know that this letter won’t change anything. Because you know as well as we do that trying to change things is pointless. So you’re just going to ignore everything I have to say. And we’re just going to live with all of your mistakes. Eventually you’ll start thinking about future us. Then things will start turning around. But you don’t care. Because you know it doesn’t matter.

    PS: I forgot to mention that D and K stick around. And they’re joined by some others. Don’t worry, though. They’re not too bad once you get used to them.

    End

    I like how mine is ridiculously depressing compared to yours.

    • Xin says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      I’m not sure if we’ve ever met in person, but I’m sorry to hear your outlook on life is so despairing right now. Life can indeed suck the big one, and it can be unfair and cruel and tragic. But there are also many moments of great kindness, joy and pleasure that are worth paying attention to and seeking out. I believe that focusing on the negatives makes them more potent and apparent in your periphery. Focusing on the positives, on the things worth being grateful for, attracts joyous and loving experiences into your life.

      I can’t pretend to understand what you’ve been through, but I hope that the hope in your life grows bigger and things get better for you soon. Don’t give up on people – there are good ones out there, and you can be one of them.

      All my love,
      Xin

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