I was recently browsing through some blogs that I think do a great job with content and I came across an article that I found extremely interesting. I will admit in advance that I did not read through the entire article because as soon as I read the title I began to contemplate what that would look like from my perspective.
Any sports fan that is familiar with the Players Tribune will understand the entire premise behind the “letter to my younger self” movement. In most cases that I have found it is an athlete that has decided to pen a letter to their younger self, explaining some of the things that they will go through as their career progresses. They will outline some of the terrible decisions they made about money, and friends that they should not trust. Depending on the athlete the information may change but the premise is the same.
After seeing a blog post from someone similar to me I began to think… Why can’t I write one of these? I have some insight that I believe would be beneficial to my younger self and to anyone who may have had the same background as me. So here is goes…
A Letter to My Younger Self:
What up D! First off I want to start by saying keep at it. I know there are times when you look around and see the devastation that surrounds your life and wonder why would you keep pushing. I am here to tell you that your drive, perseverance, your fight, your unwillingness to be defeated will bode well for you throughout your life. You may not see it now but there are better days ahead. You will be an inspiration to people because of some of the pain and suffering that you have endured. Your story will be the reason you are successful in anything you set your mind to!
I am not sure where you are in your mental state but I will start with the fire. I know you lost your childhood home. I know you are not sure how everything will work out or whether your mom will be ok after she watched the place she felt most comfortable go up in flames. She will be ok. It is going to take some time but she will be ok. The hurt that you feel about this situation does not subside for a long, long time but there will be a day when you can speak about it freely and feel no remorse. I know the red cross and all of the other agencies are there to offer support but don’t expect them to support you for too long. You have to be willing to push through even when the agencies go away. I wish I could tell you that this is a short season of pain and heartache, but I can’t. Over the next 6 years you will endure more than any kid should have to in their lifetime. There will be periods of despair, sadness, feelings of abandonment, and a lot of stress, but don’t worry! You are a survivor, a soldier who can endure more than you realize. Throughout the rest of your childhood you will learn to compartmentalize your feelings and use that inner fire and drive and push yourself to greatness. You will learn to rely on yourself and to not be influenced by others. I know these sound like things that will make you lonely but I promise you will benefit greatly from them.
Ok, enough with the doom and gloom. I want to offer you some thoughts on life. I have found now that life is worth living and living fully. Do not shun an opportunity to spend time with friends. Do not be upset when you have to take your sister with you. She will grow up to be strong, very strong mentally. She is going to be an amazing young woman who can conquer the world if she so chooses. You should genuinely laugh more. I know we have a lot of fun but we spend a lot of time keeping a tight lid on ourselves so that we seem too vulnerable with people. Control is a good thing but do not be so in control that you don’t let yourself experience life. People really like you and you are really good with words. Show them the real you and do not filter yourself assuming you are trying to make friends.
I am going to give you the bad news now so that you can wrap your head around it. Football is your ticket out of the hood! But it is not your greatest accomplishment. You will have to let football go earlier than you plan to and that is ok. Do not harp on that last point too long. Just know that you need to train your body for the game. Dig deep and give it everything you’ve got. Train harder than everyone around you and do not ever take a rep off. You are a special talent but you don’t realize it until later in life and I don’t want you to look back and say you could have given more! I want you to experience this so I won’t ruin the surprise, but make sure you choose to go to Miami University! Yes, the Miami in Ohio. It doesn’t sound like a winner but I promise you there is gift there for you that will bring you the kind of happiness you have never experienced. Just trust me!
Ok so let’s get to the nuts and bolts of life. You have incredible gifts. Never let anyone make you feel bad for being intelligent. Take all of the hardest classes you can. Listen to the teachers and ask them how the lessons can be applied to real life situations. (That is a gem of a question I promise!) Your teachers are in your corner. You will have a lot of support because of the intellectual ability that you bring to the table, do not waste the opportunity to ask additional questions. Be a seeker of knowledge, I know how much you quietly like to learn, do not be afraid to show the world. Oh and take the AP Calculus exam. Test out of it so that you can use those credit hours towards something else (you really lose interest in Calculus in college, so get the grade now).
There will be a lot of trials and tribulations. I don’t plan to let you know what they are but I want you to know that you will survive them all. There is not one test that comes your way that you do not handle with both grace and tenacity. You continue to beat the odds by simply refusing to become a statistic. There is one thing that I want to let you know. You are a loyal person by default, but you have to understand that at one point in your life that loyalty will hurt you. You will make a decision about something because you want to be loyal and leave a great opportunity on the table. I am not telling you this so that you decide something different, but I want you to be aware that after all of the hurt that eventually comes from that loyalty decision, you will be stronger and more aware of the long term effect of your decisions. By the way that is important to understand early! One of the things that serve you well in your career will be your diverse background, but be careful and don’t just take jobs that don’t move you towards your end goal, those will be wasted years of work that you could use honing your corporate skills.
Last thing… You are worthy of every accolade you receive. I want you to believe that wholeheartedly. There will be times when you look around and realize there is no one like you in the room, or in the building, or in organization for that matter. Do not let that deter you from your goals. You BELONG! That is a very important point and I want you to understand that people will respect you for your skills. You are going to help people move beyond your background or your skin color and look solely at what you have to offer as a person. Do not ever doubt that you have as much of a right to be a part of high level conversations as anyone else. You are able to bring a perspective to conversations that others cannot offer, use that to your advantage and don’t back down. Be yourself because that is enough and you will realize very quickly that people are drawn to your presence! Good luck, I have faith that you will do ok!
We are college sweethearts and happy parents to 4 amazing kids. We strive each day to lead by example and provide the best life possible to them. Our goal in life is to leave a lasting legacy that our children would be proud of. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope you enjoy each posting and share as many as possible!