A Letter to my 17-year-old Self

What I know now


November 25, 2014

Sherry Kang

311 68th Street

Newport News, VA 23607

Dear Sherry,

You have too much pride. You are so insecure. You are so judgmental. You come off cold, rude, and competitive, but I know, in your heart, you are warm, kind, and loving. And you meant to be happy. You feel that you have an impressive story to tell already — -coming to the U.S. at age 15. So you no longer strive to challenge yourself. You have become complacent with where you are. In your heart, however, you know you meant to be much bigger. If I told you, your teen years would quickly glide by without you feeling fulfilled, without unforgettable memories, without warmth that you would happily reflect back upon with, what would you do now?

DO SOMETHING. That is all that I would like you to do. Just do something. Fail. Learn. Try something new. Read a book. Build a website. Embarrass yourself. Build disciplines into your life. Go travel. Have a life-changing conversation. Make meaningful friendships. Be on a road less traveled.

Your three-years-older self now knows how important it is to fail — -fail early, fail often, and fail forward. Your three-years-older self now knows what she really enjoys: adventures, entrepreneurship, and one-on-one conversations. Your three-years-older self wishes that you had spent more time growing yourself as a person, building greater confidence, and learning how to treat other people.

I don’t blame you for not knowing what to do though. Perhaps everyone goes through this stage of life with you, but for some people, it happens much earlier. I would be thankful, however, if you had decided to take advantage of every day of your life to make a difference in your life.

You really don’t have much time to waste. Live big. Live with goals. Live your dreams out loud. Be a leader. Try something new. Grow quickly and learn a lot.

Hey, if all else fail, just be nothing but gentle and kind.

With patience, sincerity, and hope,

Lily Kang

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