Dear 17, (starting and stopping)

Dear 17, (starting and stopping)courage is the absence of fear

You’ll start with the greatest excitement! It makes you tingle. IT’S FUN! You know what I’m talking about. You’ve always been this way. Like the day you got your driver’s license. No more taking the car when you shouldn’t. You got lucky on that one, you won’t always be so lucky.

Actually, one thing you should know… we create our own luck. I’m still learning that at 46.

Sooner or later, the excitement wears off…. Sometimes it’s the monotony, sometimes you think it’s too hard (that damn anxiety and self esteem thing again), or maybe someone doesn’t think your excitement is warranted and you take it to heart.

That’s when the trouble starts. You will let it get to you. It will devastate you. It will STEAL days from your life, DON’T LET IT!! I say that now, but I still let it. I still have to talk myself down. We’re just sensitive. It’s a good thing though, trust me.

It will take you years to understand how sensitive you are. You will accept it, but at the same time, take offense to anyone that tries to use it against you. Problem is, it’s too late once they step inside your space. You react. You can’t help it… It’s a defense mechanism. You learned all about it in college in one of your psych classes, there were plenty. Ha, I love psychology, you’ll see Enjoy the classes, pay attention just a little bit more, it helps you navigate through life more than you realize.

About the sensitive-reacting part, that’s gonna be a problem. That’s the stopping and starting catalyst!! Ugh, I wish I could help you learn… I’m still learning, guess I always will be. Aren’t we all?

Your biggest problem… you let your reaction to the outside world consume you. It changes you.

It changes your relationships.

It changes your thinking.

It changes your ability to think.

It changes your ability to function.

You basically shut down.

Kate, you need to get over that shit… you lose days of your life!! It’s NOT healthy. It’s toxic. I know it’s the anxiety. I wish we knew then what I know now. (sigh)

The shut down, that’s the anxiety. It interferes with your whole world. It’s ugly and it hurts. It’s heavy, the weight may not be visible, but it’s there and it’s real. When you finally figure out how to lift it off of you, you realize how heavy and consuming it actually is. You only realize the weight when you feel the weight lift. It won’t lift until you finally address it and do something about it. That’s the hard part. That takes strength.

courage - put you first
It’s ok to be afraid…

Strength isn’t something we have. It isn’t something that people are. Strength is something that people earn. Strong is something people become. And you will. You are so much stronger than you know. You will prove that to yourself over and over again. I will still take decades for you to really believe it though.

You see, at 17 you’re still learning who you are and what life is all about. Being a kid and growing up is the “learning” part, it takes years, even more than those arbitrary 18 years that precede “adulthood.”

Adulting is hard shit! Enjoy your youth. I wish you knew how much you need to enjoy your youth, we all do. We make it too serious, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I think we’d all be a lot healthier and happier if childhood wasn’t so serious. #lessons

Make life work for you, my dear. Hold your head up. Face your fears. Share your strengths. Share your wisdom. Help others. It will all help you be who you want to be.

only impossible journeyThe only things you cannot accomplish are the things you don’t attempt. #truth

We’ll chat again soon, promise.

Love,

Me


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