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The Sunday Post: A Letter to my 14-Year Old Self

I know you’re scared —to take chances, to look foolish, to be yourself outside the safety of your room. It’s okay. Most everyone is. But I know you want to do all those things. You called that boy you like but have no idea what to do next. It’s much easier to talk, to take a shot at flirting even, when he’s in another place, where he can’t see you and you can take your time to come up with something interesting to say. I’m writing to tell you he’s just as nervous as you. All those feelings you’re having are normal.

I would love to tell you that this is just a brief phase in your life. I wish we had been brave sooner and more often. But you will be one day. You will find yourself starting over more than once. You will feel scared and alone and not know what to do. But you do it anyway because there is no choice.

You will fall in love and have two wonderful children with this man. You will be happy for many years despite the difficulties that come with adulthood, marriage, and parenting, until you’re not, and neither is he. You will find yourself struggling as you figure out what’s next, and then you will fall in love again. You will be happy for many years despite the differences in parenting styles, personalities, and other outside factors that put stress on the relationship. You will both be happy until you’re not.

And again you will struggle. You will feel lost. But you find a way to pack up your life and move to a brand-new place, to where your family awaits. There will be days when all you want to do is stay in bed and cry. And yes, you will shed many tears and wonder what went wrong. But you haven’t failed. It’s just time for the next chapter in your life. And in this chapter, you will explore dating for really the first time ever.

You are still the introvert who is not sure she is “doing it right,” but you are not letting that hold you back. Don’t be scared. Everyone else is worried about looking foolish too. Go ahead and dance like no one is watching (chances are no one is). Stop worrying what anyone else is thinking.

Keep that camera handy and use it as much as you can. Keep a notebook handy too. One day you will discover you enjoy writing poetry, stories, and more. You will explore your creativity in so many different ways. It feeds your soul.

Sex? You’ve been curious about it for a while already. Will it be like in the movies, or the books your parents don’t want you to read (or like the stack of magazines in Dad’s closet might lead you to think)? No, it’s better than that. You already know you should wait for someone special, and you will. You will wait until you fall in love and it will be all you hoped it would be, but maybe not at first. You will be faithful to this man who will become your husband and then to the next husband after that. Each partner will be special and each different from the last. You won’t sleep with a bunch of different men because as much as you may wonder what that would be like, that’s not who you are.

You won’t find a career in the music business, helping artists grow and prosper, but music will always be important. Keep listening to everything under the sun. One day you will have an opportunity to help a local band grow their following and that will be enough. You will find a job where even though you will not always feel it, you will be supported and encouraged to grow. And when the time comes they will give you what you need when you need it most.

Those children I mentioned? They will challenge you as a parent and as a friend. The challenge will be in knowing which they need when. They will each go through their own trials and tribulations, but as of now, I think I can say they will be all right; they’re finding their way.

You are finding joy in new beginnings. You are in love for the third time. You will have long and intimate conversations with this man as you get to each other. I can’t tell you how it ends yet. All I know right now is that we, you, are happy. You are loved and cherished. And you make him happy, too.

You may not realize it now, living so close to it, but the ocean is your happy place. You take it for granted now but it brings you peace and comfort. Don’t stray too far from it.

So, in closing, I don’t want you to do anything too drastic that could change the course of this story. I have no regrets. But maybe take a few more chances, break a couple (small) rules, and dance a little more along the way.

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