A Letter to My Seventeen Year Old Self

Dear Chris,

This may be a bit confusing, but this is you, fifteen years into the future. I imagine your days are mostly filled with having fun in school with your friends and getting ready for prom. Sorry to bring up prom; asking that girl out was pretty embarrassing, wasn’t it? It’s okay, I was there, and you’ll get better at that sort of thing, eventually. Even though you desperately need it, I’m not here to discuss girls.

So why am I writing you this letter? It’s about your future. Don’t get startled – nothing traumatic happens. You’ll manage to graduate from U.C.L.A. and get a job right out of college. This job will keep you employed, and you’ll even manage to earn a few promotions along the way. Okay fine, I know you want to know about your love life – it’s all good. There’s a few bad moments here and there, but that comes with the territory. You’ll eventually gain the confidence you need to talk to women and be yourself, highlight your attributes, that sort of thing. Shit, why am I writing about girls again? I’m not here for this. Damn you, me.

Back on track – like I said, nothing bad happens to you. In fact, everything is smooth sailing for the next fifteen years. But that’s exactly the problem. Allow me to give you some criticism – you’re lazy, and you’re kind of a pussy. Now don’t take offense, I say this with peace and love, peace and love. Let me put it more tastefully – you value safety and security a bit too much, and you don’t take the time to question things in life. Do you even know why you’re going to college? Really, think about it. Aren’t you sick of school by now?

I know what you’re thinking – getting a degree is the next step in life. You have this image in your head of working in an office, wearing a shirt and tie to work, and making money, being out in the world on your own. Trust me, this office life is not what it’s cracked up to be. I’m here to tell you that the possibilities are endless for you. You can be anything you want. You don’t have to limit yourself to being in a cubicle, working some corporate 9-5. There is a creative side to you, which you probably aren’t aware of at this point. I know that buried deep inside your mind you have these thoughts and feelings but you just don’t know how to express them right now. Start writing. Keep a journal. Use this as an outlet for your frustrations, thoughts, hopes, and dreams. There is a writer inside of you.

Also, there is a world outside of Southern California. Explore. Travel. Expose yourself to different cultures, languages, customs, and cuisines. You’re actually going to love Mediterranean food, and you’ll have this desire to learn French. You’ll learn so much about yourself through traveling, this is really the time for you to discover who you are and what you value in life.

I know you don’t really like these suggestions. Staying in Los Angeles and working in an office is what you always imagined you’d be doing, and anything outside of that makes you feel uncomfortable. But this is exactly my message to you – be uncomfortable. Challenge yourself. Take risks. Put yourself in situations that will force you to expand your horizons. Find passion. I know you want the American dream – a good job, a nice family, and a nice house. But there is a greater human dream – to love your life and feel the full spectrum of emotions on a regular basis.

That is my hope for you, for us.

– Chris.

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3 comments

  1. I love this! I tell my son (he just turned 11) on a near weekly basis, that I FULLY expect him to get his butt off this continent to go out and explore the world before he chooses whether to attend college, before he settles down with a woman, or a man, before he chooses to have children… etc.! Life NEEDS to be LIVED! I wish I knew that back in the day. I have no regrets, but I may have done things in a different order, had I known I had options!

    Liked by 1 person

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