Birthday Letter to a Younger Me
Significant times of the year always make me contemplative. I usually pour my thoughts into my personal journal which only myself and a few others have ever seen. But this year, as I approach a certain age, I decided I’d write something to myself at age 12. A summation of a few things I feel like I’ve learned. Some advice. A few promises I intend to keep. To Me.
It’s me! You! From the future! I hope you are feeling well. It doesn’t really matter though, whatever you’re going through now, the fact that I’m writing you from 22 years in the future, shows that you’ll get over it. It will make you stronger. Color your perspectives of the world. It will make you me, and I’m rather fond of myself if I do say so …. myself.
Ok, so I’m about to turn 30 years old! I know! Unbelievable. Bittersweet. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m extremely blessed and grateful to have made it this far. Mom always says that every new birthday means that you’re winning in the game of life. She’s right you know? I’m just going to miss being “in my 20's.”
Time flies. When you’re having fun or otherwise. It just flies. So make good use of it.
So this is kind of awkward…but the way that you imagine me in your head right now, may not be exactly who I am in this moment. I’d say that some of it is pretty accurate though. I am fairly handsome, so I’m told (no, not just by mom!). I workout. I may not be a superhero, or as built as Batman, but I’m working on it. I am pretty Badass though if I do say so (don’t tell mom I said that). I’m a kickboxing instructor! I literally punch and kick things for a living, so don’t ever stop play-fighting those invisible bad guys. That’s going to come in real handy!
No, I’m not rich. I’m working on it. But I’m learning to also be grateful for, and make the most of, what I do have. That’s really important to remember.
I’m not married. Especially not to whomever you’re crushing on at the moment. Right now I’m the cool Bruce-Wayne-Bachelor future self you imagine sometimes…well…kinda. I tend to get in a lot of mid-long-term relationships. And I definitely don’t live in a manor. Although I did live in an apartment complex that had the word “manor” in its name once, so that’s cool. It was kind of a dump.
Speaking of the bachelor life, you have to watch out for these women! You like them TOOO much already and that’s only going to continue when you get my age. Just be careful. Blessings and curses come with that territory. Always treat them well. You have a big heart though, so don’t try to save them all…the broken ones. You will have your heart broken. You will break a few hearts. It’s OK. Everyone will survive. It’s all a part of life. Enjoy it. Do what’s best for you. Always. You may be called selfish…That’s not always a bad thing.
No I’m not a doctor or an astronaut. In a few years mom is going to get pretty sick and you’ll spend some time in hospitals…they seem like boring and depressing places to work at. That’s not for us. You’ll also discover that you can’t be a pilot because your eyes are “color-deficient”, so you can stop secretly blaming mom for “not teaching you your colors right”. You see colors differently than others so just keep using Crayola because they have the color name labels on them: don’t ever buy the cheap crayons that assume you know what colors they are. Better safe than sorry.
I’m not a professional singer either. I know you enjoy it so much, but it’s become more of a secondary passion these days. I lost my confidence in that area a while back. I’m going to make myself get it back soon. For your sake.
I am an actor, however, and I still love to write. I’ve even been paid to do so a few times. I was on the Disney channel a few months ago! That’s pretty cool huh? It’s not what you’d expect though.
That’s one thing I’ve learned a lot over the years. The way that we imagine the world doesn’t always play out with 100% accuracy. But be grateful anyway. If you put in hard work and effort, do your best to make good choices, take some risks, and never listen to the voice of doubt in your head, you will be an unstoppable force in this world. I’m still working on that, but I have the principles down, so I can only improve.
I graduated college with 2 majors, honors, and a thesis film that’s going to be huge! Keep up your academics. You may be a “nerd” but that’s sexy when you get past high school. (again don’t tell mom)
I’m not famous yet. At least not like “Denzel” famous. That’s not really my objective anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still chasing the limelight. But I care more about making an impact. You know how you like to give money to people in need and help out others? Don’t ever lose sight of that. It is so important to have empathy and compassion. It will help you understand the world. It will give you conviction. It will help you find peace.
There will come a time when you really start to question the world around you. EMBRACE that. QUESTION EVERYTHING. Your curiosity and skepticism will make you knowledgeable about a lot of things. It will help you to not be a sheep. It will give you wisdom.
You will question God and everything you know about religion. It will be scary, but it will be Ok. You will find him again. Different than before..but the same.
Don’t ever be afraid of the unknown, of rejection, of embarrassment, of judgment, of being your true self, of being smart, of being not quite as good at something as another person, of approaching a beautiful woman, of making a fool of yourself, of questioning authority, of getting into a fight, of getting sent to the office, of standing up for yourself or others.
Don’t ever be afraid.
Let me rephrase that. You will most definitely be afraid. A lot. But don’t ever be controlled by fear. That is the path to regret.
Pursue opportunities to the very end. Don’t give up or get discouraged.
Procrastinate. Skip school. Act up. It’s OK. I mean try not to, but if you do…it’s not the end of the universe.
These are just a couple of things I can think of offhand that will help you along the way to being me. Hell, if you could take my advice you’d probably end up a better me.
Ultimately I’m happy where I am now. How things are. And I’m working to improve. I have made some great and poor decisions. There are a couple of things I genuinely regret. But not too many, and I’m working on keeping that list as short as possible.
I promise that I’ll continue to strive. Continue to pursue our dreams. Continue to feel the fear and move past it in an effort to expand and grow as a person. I promise I’ll always keep you inside me, your optimism, your tenderness and compassion, your lightheartedness and fun. Your unconditional love of this world. Your youth and childlike awe at all that is beautiful.
I have to go get old now. I hope to speak with you again soon. I genuinely love you. And despite our shortcomings, I am extremely proud of you. We’re going to OWN these 30’s. Believe me.
Love. Your Self.
Thanks so much for reading. This was very interesting to write. What would you say to your 12 year old self?
Great things are on the horizon for you. Until next blog.
Originally published at Ellis E. Fowler.