An Open Letter to Myself — 10 years later

Dear Khaled,

This week, you turned 15. High school is around the corner, you’ve solidified your infatuation with social settings and girlfriends have come and gone. In your mind, life has truly begun, you’ve learned what you need to and you’re ready to take over.

In the matter of a few short months, your life will truly begin with the first real — let’s call it your first real slap in the face from life. Trust me, there are plenty. When these slaps happen, the School of Life will be in session.

I don’t know how else to say this, but nearly everything you believe to be true right now, is simply not. Your family will not live happily ever after; your friends will not always be there; not everyone will love you regardless of how well they get to know you; you will not always be the happy-go-lucky social butterfly you are now; and most importantly, life will never be this easy again.

I know, this is some dark sh!t, right!?

Here’s the catch — everything will be okay. That’s right, this is all good for you.

What you won’t realize as you experience each of these slaps is that these dark moments come with an extremely valuable lesson and you’ll be a better person every day because of it so pay attention.

When you lose loved ones, remember everything you admired about them and make them your strengths. When you do this, you’ll honour them through being you, for a piece of them lives on through you. Just don’t convince yourself that you’ll always see them again, go out of your way to make sure everyone around you knows you love and appreciate them — especially this summer, August 4th, your first loss.

When you’re asked to move and you lose yourself mentally— remember the promise you made to always protect her. This isn’t your battle, this isn’t your decision, this is you fulfilling that promise. Stop blaming yourself and use it as a blueprint for how NOT to go about your relationships. Just because theirs didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean you have no hope. It just means that you have to make your own discoveries, learn your own definition of love and unravel your own lessons from each relationship but don’t forget to learn from the mistakes.

When you have that first real girlfriend and you ride the roller coaster of an emotionally unstable high school relationship, just take the time to embrace everything good and bad about your experience and LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. Yes, you effed up just as much as she did but just because you’re going through your own personal struggles, it doesn’t mean she deserves to be treated with anything short of love and respect. This relationship will set the standard for your future.

When you break your faith for the first time and drink that first drink, smoke that first smoke— just remember that you didn’t burn in flame of hell fire. Alcohol and drugs are a vice we turn to when the world becomes too much to handle. When we need to get away from it all and live in a virtual reality of over-confidence and false immortality just to forget that our lives are just not that perfect. Just remember, no one’s is. We all lose ourselves and our faith in everything around us but you’ll never find peace if you can’t hold on to your faith in everything you stand for. Those morals will carry you through a confusing time in our world and those drunk and stoned nights will bring you lessons you would never experience otherwise.

When that first stage of depression hits you — don’t ignore it. Yes, it’s depression. No, you’re not crazy. And no, it will not just go away — you’ll just learn to live with it. Just know, that you’re not alone. Though right now the conversations you hear about depression are dark and all end in suicide — that’s not how things work. Social media is a powerful tool and though everyone looks to be living in a perfect world, everyone around you is fighting a battle of their own and you have the power to change their life. That’s right, YOU!

Here’s why. Your life is simply different. Everyone’s is but for some reason, you were asked to take on a little more in this life at an earlier age than most people around you. Whatever created you, made you just a little different for a reason. Because of your personality, your enthusiasm, your emotion, your passion, your experiences, your resilience — people naturally gravitate towards you. This is a gift that few people can understand, let alone embrace and use to make everyone around them better. That’s your role. Make everyone around you better.

You’ll do this simply by staying you. The care-free, happy-go-lucky people-pleaser you’ve always been. You’ll smile every time you see someone you know and in return, they’ll smile back even if they, or you, are not having the greatest day. You’ll go out of your way to make sure every one around you is in their own comfort-zone, even when you’re not in your own. You’ll bare the weight of being uncomfortable, just to make sure everyone around you is happy. That’s simply what makes you happy. You’ll notice the little things in the way people walk and talk that’ll remind you of the times you tried to hide what you were truly feeling — this is your biggest strength, your strongest weapon. With this, you’ll be able to break people out of their shells and bring out the best version of them. That’s your gift, bringing out the best in the people around you.

Sometimes though, you just won’t be feeling like you. You’ll want to crawl into your bed and binge watch One Tree Hill, The OC and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air all at once — which you will — and that’s okay, sometimes. You need to take a break and be alone. When you accept your role, you’ll realize making everyone happy is not enough to keep you happy. You have to be selfish sometimes and do the things you love and let me tell you right now — you LOVE golf. Golf is your therapy. Your friends and family are your cure.

I know this seems like a lot to take in — and what seems like a lot of darkness — but the light you’re looking for is in yourself. You are the light for many people and in return, you need to appreciate your friends and family as the light in yours. I know you think everyone that gets to know you should love you, but sometimes you have to accept that not everyone is going to like you, regardless of how well they get to know you. Everyone is going through their own struggles and fighting their own battles and you’ll have to go out of your comfort-zone and leave them be. There’s some people that you simply can not help — they can only help themselves — so don’t take it personally, just be there if they need you.

Before I leave you to live your life, I need you to remember that you are loved. There will come days that you convince yourself otherwise but believe me when I tell you, there are people in your life that value your presence, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even as your family separates to different cities — you won’t lose that feeling of being loved by a family, you’ll get that from two very special groups of people that will show exactly what you need. Embrace them and let them prove to you that family don’t always have to be blood.

The world will go through some dark times and some days will become unbearable but one of your gifts is the ability to love this world and the people in it uncontrollably and unconditionally. Everyone you meet, you’ll love until they give you reason not to and that’s okay. Just continue to spread peace, love and positivity (Thank you, Logic) and never let anyone convince you that you can’t make everyone happy and you can’t change the world for as long as you continue to share yourself and your vision with everyone around you, the world will naturally embrace you and what you represent.

Sincerely,

2015 You.