A Letter to 17 Year Old Me.

Dear 17 year old Ken, 

Congrats on finishing high school. You did it. We almost didn't think we'd make it past 16 for a while there. I am proud of you, but your journey has not even begun. You are so shy, so timid. For that, you will be walked all over for the next couple years, but it's okay. It will help you learn to stand up for yourself, whether it be to your boss or to your boyfriend. You will learn, just give it some time.

Also, forget about that boy. He wasn't the love of your life. He wasn't even a real love. What he did to you was so wrong and it will come to effect you more as you grow older, after the rose colored glasses come off. I wish you could see the things he did to you. I wish you had been able to talk to someone about it. I wish you hadn't been so heart broken when he broke up with you at midnight on your 18th birthday over text message, which in all honesty was pretty poetic of him. He's still an ass. You spent your 18th birthday over a boy who did more damage than anything, even though he claimed to love you. He did nothing right and you did nothing wrong so do not blame yourself, and please try to get over him because it really isn't helping anyone.

Focus on school. Man, I wish you had focused on school more during high school and your first two years of college. Boys are great, but school is even better. Going to community college may not have been your best idea, but somehow you'll make it. Then, once you get to USF you will fall in love with school again. Maybe it's because of your professors, or maybe it's because of your major. Either way, your passion for learning and discovering will be greater than ever.

Also, you'll finally get to go to London. I know it's been our dream since we were 15, and it's finally going to happen. It will be the best two and a half weeks of your entire life, I promise. It will really help you in getting over that weird feeling in your gut that you could never quite figure out. That feeling was fear of the future and it will completely go away after this trip. It will change your entire world view and help everything finally fall into place. You will learn so much about yourself and about the world.

So, we're 21 now, and honestly things are pretty great. You'll meet a boy in a couple months that you think is the one, but it turns out he's not the one either. You'll make some mistakes when trying to get over him, but it seems like we're going to be just fine. 

We will learn to make mistakes and be okay with making them. We won't see everything as an instant regret and that everything would have a major effect on our life, because that's just not true. Finally, just recently, it feels like we can be ourself and I have figured out what that even means. You don't have to please everyone, you don't have to be everyone's friend. You don't have to be perfect all the time. It's going to be okay. Mistakes will be made, things will go wrong, that's just life. Trying to hold back and not be yourself to try and be everyone's best friend and the most perfect human possible just isn't realistic and honestly it is going to hurt more than help you. 

You still don't really like drinking, or smoking. They have just never been your thing. Unfortunately, all of your friends like to smoke and drink which will lead to your first hangover a couple months after turning 21. Two ibuprofen and lots and lots of water. Treat yourself to some fast food and you will be just fine. 

My last bit of advice is to just let things happen and don't take life so seriously. Sure, everything is scary and new, but that's life. You will be just fine. I really wish I could deliver this letter, though. But, every pain and ache we go through happens for a reason. 



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