Recently, I was asked to participate in an initiative run by Earnest which focuses on encouraging and motivating recent high school and college graduates. It was suggested to me that this would be a great opportunity for me to reminisce about those years of life. It is interesting that this request came to me when it did as I am currently struggling with the concept of lost memories. I understand that memories fade with age, but it is also quite common for memories to be lost due to chemical reactions that occur in a Bipolar brain. If you are a regular follower of my blog, you know that I have a very long history with Bipolar Disorder. Although I am better than ever at this point in my life, I am currently trying to piece together my past that seems to have been lost during frequent and extensive “black out periods” that occurred during those very dark years. I have only just begun the search for my lost memories, so I will be sharing more information about that with you all at a later date. For now, I am going to attempt to write a letter to myself at 18 years old upon my graduation from high school. What a wonderful way to resurrect old memories and to commemorate my upcoming 25th High School Reunion. So here goes…
*This is not a sponsored post. I voluntarily agreed to participate in this initiative. I have received no compensation in return. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
I am writing this letter to you 25 years in the future. I am not really certain where to begin or even how much information I want to disclose…because not knowing it all is half the fun and all of the challenge, resulting in rewards that you cannot even imagine at 18 years old.
But I will tell you this. You are about to embark on the wildest, craziest journey into the literal unknown. And it is scary. It is supposed to be. But the best way to conquer your fears is to face them head on. You are an emotional and insightful young woman. You feel things. And you feel them more deeply than others might. And because of this, emotional pain may come to you more frequently and more intensely. You will often question if this is a fault within yourself. But know this…it is not a fault. It is sort of one those curses that brings great rewards to you later.
Because you are so emotional and you wear your heart on your sleeve, your high school years were difficult. College will be no better. In fact, as you grow and learn and plant yourself more firmly in adulthood, your emotions will rule everything you do. This can be bad. But it is also very good. It is just who you are. It is how you are wired. So don’t ever try to change it.
Along the way, you will be faced with decisions. Big decisions. Small decisions. Irrelevant decisions that will ultimately have no impact on your life. And decisions that will change your life forever. You will make wrong decisions. But you will also make right decisions. You will fall on your face. Time and again. And you will doubt yourself every step of the way. You will fail. Then you will succeed. Then you will fail again. And then success will come back. And this cycle will repeat itself…for the rest of your life. Because that is just how life goes. You will learn from your failures on the way to your successes. And you will experience a multitude of each.
When you graduate from college, things will get even trickier. There is a path you will need to travel. It’s a long one. And it’s a dark one. And it’s scary and frustrating and seemingly endless. You will encounter things and people and thoughts on this road that will try to destroy your very soul. But there will also be people on this road who offer you glimpses of hope. You will wonder often if you will ever get to the end of it. If you will even make it out alive. When those doubts try to take control, hold on to the morsels of hope that have been given to you. Put them in your pocket and take them out when you need them. They will always be there and there will almost always be plenty. But there may be a time or two when you reach into your pocket and you can’t find anything. But I will tell you this…this is quite important, in fact…even if it is the smallest amount of hope, it will be there deep inside your pocket. Your pocket will never be empty. There will always be hope. Rely on that. Because that little bit of knowledge will save your life.
Eventually, you will reach the end of that long, dark road. You will be exhausted. You will be battered and bruised. You will feel hopeless and defeated. Your very essence will be shattered into a million tiny pieces. And slowly, you will begin putting them back together again. And this process will be long and daunting and terrifying and seemingly impossible. You will want to quit a million times. But you won’t quit. Because you are not a quitter. That is a quality that is so thoroughly ingrained you that even at your most exhausted, your most defeated moments, you will know to take a rest and then carry on with the mission at hand.
I know this all sounds very apocalyptic rather than encouraging. But it is just how it is. And I cannot and will not tell you to do anything differently. I will not tell you to make different decisions. I could, but that’s not at all realistic. And if not for anything else, you are a very realistic person who recognizes that we must take the bad with the good. We must make our own mistakes. We must live our own lives. It is really the only way to arrive at a place of grace and gratitude. So make your decisions however you will. Make your mistakes in the grandest way. They are best learning experiences you will have. And 25 years from now, you will have arrived at the happiest place you could have ever imagined. This place will still have its downsides and its stresses, as all places do. But overall, you will be grateful for that long, dark road because it delivered you right here…where I am…writing this to you.
Here, 25 years in the future, you will look into the mirror every day. The mirror that once told you were weak and ugly and stupid and crazy. The mirror that insisted that you would never get out alive. The mirror that showed pain and tears and heartache and more pain. You will look into that same mirror and you will see the strongest, kindest, warmest, funniest, smartest, happiest, most beautiful woman you will ever meet in your entire life. And that I can promise you. And that makes it all worth it.
So brace yourself for the ride, take this handful of hope from me, and always know that you’ve got this. You are strong, you are a survivor, and you deserve all the happiness that is waiting for you at the end.
Yourself at 43 years old
And since I have been MIA for the past few days, I better add in this week’s Link Up On the Edge. The #SpreadTheKindness Link Up will return next Tuesday!
Here are your favorite posts from last week.
Tina of Tina’s Pink Friday shared the cutest maritime inspired outfit in her post Maritim and A Vintage Swim OOTD. Doesn’t she look fabulous in her red stripes? Hop on over to her post to check out her accessories. Tina always has the most interesting and fun accessories!
Elizabeth of Natty Gal shared a really gorgeous little white dress in her post All White, All White, All White. Her dress ended up being more of a Bad Buy, however. She will have to save it to submit to The Bad Buy Book the next time we share bad buy dresses! (The theme for August, by the way, is Bad Buy Sandals!) Also, check out Elizabeth’s blog for a new link up party that she hosts on Fridays, Friendship Friday Link Up!
Thank you for all stopping by and linking up. And a big congratulations to all the recent graduates out there!
Reminiscing on the edge,
Linking up with these Fabulous Link Ups.
*Everything I am wearing in these photos has been in my closet for quite some time. So no direct product links are available.