Alex at 11,
You’re starting the sixth grade, at first you’ll get a little caught up in what’s ‘cool.’ Don’t waste your time. You’re only as cool as you aren’t, if that makes any sense. You’re going to make some great friends who remind you that silly and eccentric is a good thing. Cherish it, because high school is going to be rough, and you’ll probably forget how unique and creative you really are until you meet that guy in your university biology class. (Don’t worry, he seems odd but he’ll take you by surprise.)
Don’t stop writing. Write as much as you can. Nothing you write will be worth anything until you grow up a bit, but the best pay off will be perseverance, and you’re going to need that later when you start working on your first novel. Don’t give up on you’re dream, you’ll be a writer, it’s just going to take a while.
You’re going to keep a few of your old friends from middle school and the place where you grew up. You probably won’t call them or write as much as you should, but you ought to. Don’t forget them, they’re probably the best friends you’ll have for the next four years. I know high school will seem hard, being the new girl and moving into a whole new fish pond, but if you stick with your true self and remember what’s right, you’ll do fine.
Don’t forget your strengths. You have the God of the universe on your side, and He’s given you incredibly intelligence, a great sense of humor, and an amazing power of will. Don’t lose touch with how strong you are! Sadly, you’re going to lose a lot of your uniqueness. You’re going to want to blend in order to be accepted. Don’t. Just don’t. Being alone is better than forgetting who you are and what you like. You’re a very sweet girl and will want to people please, and sometimes that will become a problem. Don’t forget to protect your own interests. As much as you hate to admit it, some of the people you hang out with won’t be worth your time, and sadly, you’ll be too shy to make friends with the people who are.
I’m going to be honest, high school will be hell for you. Everyone will seem completely immature and irritating. You’ll have just a few friends here and there, and none of them are people who you can confide in. Just keep calm and deal with it. God has given you all the resources you’ll need. Besides, you’ll be finished in three years! Bet you didn’t think you’d get that lucky. You’ll work extremely hard and be halfway to crazy half the time. I’d say to try to not stress about it, but who am I kidding, you will. You’re going to develop this horrible habit of dating your friends. I really wish you wouldn’t. They aren’t worth your time and you ought to be a lot more choosy. You won’t fit in anywhere, but again, being alone is better than hanging out with losers.
You’re going to think you are in love. You aren’t, but it will take a while to figure that out. Trust me, you have no idea what real, God-reflective love is and you won’t for a long time. Remember what I said about that kid in your university biology class? Yep. (Even then virtue love won’t come quickly or easy, but that’s another story.) Hold on to your ideals and your morals very tightly, because they are the only armor you have against losing yourself. You’re going to struggle on your walk with God because you haven’t figured out how much you matter and how precious you are.
You’ll worry about what you want to do with your life. Don’t panic. You are incredibly smart and you can do whatever you put your mind to. The worst thing you could do is to underestimate yourself. Take full advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. When mom suggests you apply for that London writer’s camp, get your application in. I promise, it won’t be for nothing. You’ll learn so much about yourself if you focus on what matters. You’ll be distracted here and there, your spiritual growth will be slow and steady, but don’t worry, it gets better, and you’ll soon become the young woman God intended you to be.
After three years, you’re going to feel free. Go to Texas A&M. I know that the scholarship to UofH will be tempting, but don’t think twice. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t become an Aggie. During your freshman year you’ll struggle at first and you’ll forget your real mission in life. You’ll think you’re in love again and he’ll break your heart. Just warning you, it’s going to hurt. Badly. But again, he wasn’t worth the pain, and if you get distracted by it you won’t see the people who are right in front of you. Those girls from your creative writing and french classes are very special, and don’t forget your soul sister who has been there for you from the beginning, no matter how far away she lives, as well as that odd biology kid who seems to hang around no matter how much you snub him. These people are all priceless, and they will become the framework of like-minded friendships that you need on your walk with God. Don’t forget that they are just as faulted as you are, and they deserve your support when they fall on their asses just like they supported you when you fell on yours. You’re going to need to get over that judgmental tendency you have, otherwise you’ll never love them as much as you could, and you’ll never deserve their love.
I’m going to be frank. You’ll work your ass off from now until you’re my age, and it will be a long time before you start to feel like an adult. You aren’t smart enough now to see your childish ego, but in a year or two you will be. Don’t let it get in the way. Don’t get distracted. Don’t forget how strong you are. Don’t regret any of the mistakes that you will make, because they’ve taught you everything you needed and they lead to me, and believe me, you’ll be happy with me.
Alex at 21.