Hey, girl. It’s me: You. I’m the You that’s about seven-ish years older than you. You’re fourteen, and your life is about to become a lot more complicated than you ever thought it would. You see, in about seven months, you’re going to turn fifteen. You’ll learn to drive and get your first real job. You’ll start teaching piano to an eight-year-old girl and end up teaching twenty-two kids music before you turn twenty. You’ll get a boyfriend and start community college. You’ll start a double major in Animation and Theatre. You’ll get dumped (twice). You’ll drop a major. You’ll meet amazing people. You’ll see the life of someone you love dearly change completely for the better. There’s a lot of stuff I wish I could go back and tell you. I’m taking the opportunity to do it down, with the hopes that there’s some other fourteen year old girl who needs to read this letter.
You’re gonna have crushes on a good handful of boys, and that’s okay. However, these boys won’t always treat you the way that you deserve to be treated. Understand that you are a treasure, no matter what anyone’s opinion of you. There will be a few boys who show an open interest in you, but goodness sakes, do not settle. You deserve to be treated like a queen: accept nothing less. When your heart gets broken, know that the hurt does not last forever. Also, understand that it’s okay to have good memories from relationships that came to an end. God brings people into our lives for seasons. Sometimes those seasons aren’t as long as we originally thought they would, but regardless of how long any relationship lasts, there is something you can learn from every person you encounter.
Don’t give up on your dreams. You’ve got some huge ones, and you will accomplish some of them over the next seven years. No one can achieve them for you, and no one will want your dreams more than you do. Don’t let anyone tell you that what you want to do with your life is foolish. You are not a traditionalist or one to do things the conventional way. You are a trailblazer and an extraordinary achiever: own it. While your dreams are your own, know that you will have allies to your goals who will help you along the way. Also know that there will be people who don’t have your best interests in mind. Be discerning with who you open up to while also trusting those God has put in your life to help you grow.
Taking care of yourself is important. In fact, it’s about the most important thing you can do. You love to take care of others. You’re really good at it, too. However, you tend to have trouble taking care of yourself. One of the best things I have learned recently is looking at the “Love your neighbor as yourself” verse in a different light. You see, that verse isn’t telling you to love others but treat yourself like crap. It means that you have to know how to love yourself in order to love others. Loving yourself includes making sure you get enough sleep, drinking water, being in the Word, going to counseling and taking your meds. You’re gonna want to fight your doctor for a long time about medicine, but there is nothing wrong with getting a bit of extra help. Do not let anyone convince you that you are wrong for doing things that truly help you be the best version of yourself.
“No” is a sentence. You are going to have so many great opportunities come your way, but you cannot and should not say “yes” to all of them. There will be times where you feel that you have to justify yourself for why you are saying “no” to something. You’ll also feel like you’re the biggest disappoint that there ever was when you have to decline a job or experience, but that is not true. The world will not combust if you don’t step up for every single position. Sometimes, the best way for you to take care of yourself is for you to step back and let someone else be in charge, even if it’s a job that you truly love.
There’s going to be a lot of really crappy stuff that happens. At times, it will feel like the world is going to end. However, there is going to be some really amazing stuff that’s going to come your way that will remind you just how wonderful life can be. There are times I wish I could go back in time and actually talk to you, 14 year-old Abby. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell you to avoid certain people or situations. The thing is though, every event that will happen in your life will shape you into the strong woman you will become. So I’ll leave you with this: live your life to the fullest. Love everyone, including yourself, full heartedly, even when they hurt you. There will be so many more mountains that will outweigh the number of valleys. Be present in the moment and savor every minute of life. I promise I will do the same.