To my younger self,
This is 22 year old you, writing this from the couch on a rainy day. I’m in a new house to the one you’re used to, but you finally have a pool and space for a pet, you have a bigger bed and the greatest collection of books. You’re taller now and you’ve finally accepted that your glasses are a part of who you are. You still enjoy order and planning, and you’re even more stubborn, so you may not even read further…
– So firstly, it’s going to be okay – even when it doesn’t feel that way.
⁃ Mom and Dad will encourage you to try your best, and you always do – please know that it is enough, even when you feel it isn’t, which will be far too many times (so I’m working on that) – you are enough Jason, I promise.
⁃ School will be an experience. You’re going to meet a few great people (go to the tennis courts and choir room, and make sure you go to that audition) and you’ll learn amazing things. Not many people will understand you, with some even trying to change you (but don’t worry, we don’t let them). Always be yourself, even when society/they (the bullies) don’t want you to.
⁃ Whenever you need it, reading, family and music are going to help.
⁃ Many will label you ‘different’, and I wish you knew earlier how freaking special your differences make you and that you’d embrace it more. Don’t listen to them or let them get you down, just do your thing and be yourself – the self you truly are.
⁃ You’ll be fortunate and privileged enough to go to University, where you will meet some of the greatest and most talented people, and create the most amazing things – just enjoy your time there and don’t doubt yourself so often.
⁃ You’ll graduate and find your first job all in the same week (and yes, it is as frightening as it sounds).
⁃ Your family loves you so so much, and you’re going to grow closer to them (even when it sometimes feels distant). And I know it worries you, but no, I haven’t told them yet, and you don’t have to either – I’m hopeful we won’t ever need to and that it would just all be okay and ‘normal’.
⁃ People will come and go, and sometimes you’ll see how their leaving will be difficult but vital to your growth and finding who you want to be. A few will stay and continuously lift you up, make sure the friends you keep are kind, embrace who you are, and impact you positively (yes, that feeling inside, trust and listen to it).
– Not everyone will like you and you do not have to please anyone but yourself – so take more risks and don’t be too shy, it holds you back.
– Drink more water!
⁃ You’re going to overthink a lot. It’ll make you nervous and anxious and overwhelmed, but we’re slowly figuring out how to control that.
⁃ Everything happens for a reason, and in the moment you may not understand, but time will have a way of explaining it all.
⁃ There will be many tears and just as many laughs. You’ll learn that you’re quite an emotional person, and that does not make you weak.
⁃ Expectations for you by others will be an on-going little battle, just remain who you are and remind yourself that you are enough.
– It’s okay to say no.
⁃ You’re going to encounter some very bad, and dark times, but with an equal amount of positive and joyous times. Optimism, and a simple black string, will help get you through some of the worst times – just keep smiling.
– You’ll try be pulled down, so make sure you stand up for yourself and those just like you – but never allow it to be hateful or harmful.
– You are stronger than you know.
⁃ Please love yourself more, and from an earlier age too – don’t let society distort your idea of beauty and self-worth.
– I probably don’t need to state this, but yes, you still freaking love music and spend your days singing – I’d say it’s one of the few things that have remained constant in your life.
⁃ Failing is okay, just learn from that and don’t let the worry of being labelled a failure keep you from pushing forward.
⁃ Always, always, always be kind and respectful – the world isn’t all that great, so your little acts of kindness will help.
It’s taken almost 23 years, but I am loving the person I’m becoming and I hope I’ve made you proud. We are going to make it – with a smile on our face and a life filled with so much love. It doesn’t stop here, and we have so much more to do (I know you still want to pursue the singing thing, we will work on that!). Keep going and keep smiling – I am so proud of us.
Your older self
*Side note: I found this quiet therapeutic to write, it’s a sort of reflection on your life so far and makes you think about what you dreamt about as a child and if those dreams have come true, as well as what you can change for the better – I’d definitely recommend you all give it a try.