By now, you've already learned that life probably won't work out the way you envision it. You're afraid to make plans for your future, because you already know something will go awry. When you were 5 years old, and witnessed your brother's catastrophic death, it was painfully clear that life isn't going to be fair. Your family fell apart after that tragedy. Right now, you're frustrated with family dynamics, and have come to realize that other people's lives are going to move on, with or without you. It will be up to you to figure out how to fit into their new lives. You will experience a great deal of difficult emotions, but hang in there. Eventually, you're going to realize just how well you really can stand on your own two feet. Being "strong and resilient" are characteristics that will serve you well in the years to come.
Even though your family is a mess right now, try to go easy on your parents. You're going to grow up, and realize that they're only human. You'll sit in their shoes one day, and come to accept that they did the best they could with some crappy situations. While you may wish things were different, just keep looking ahead. The best is yet to come.
I realize that, right now, you are stuck between wanting to go back in time and wanting to make time move faster. Something has been knocking on your heart, nagging in your mind, and sitting in the forefront of the major life decisions that wait ahead. Don't worry. You're going to make the right choice. You will choose to leave the path that has already been laid out for you by an organized religion you don't believe in. It will be a few more years before you take your final stand, but, in the end, you will find a genuine relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ. Fear not, 18 Year Old Wendy. It's going to be okay.
The years you live with Lisa in the shack on a hill, behind the County Jail are going to be awesome. When that chapter ends, you're going to be a little sad, but you will have had one of the best times of your life. Hang on to those moments. Once you graduate from nursing school, "real life" is going to begin...and it will never be the same.
I'm not your mother or anything, but please be careful. The combination of spiritual struggle, family turmoil, and newfound independence isn't always going to be pretty. You're fresh and innocent right now. There's a few things coming down the road, that would be easier if avoided...but...you've never really done anything against your better judgment, so you're going to enjoy testing those limits. Just try to keep your head on straight, okay? In the midst of your wild moments, keep in mind that, one day, the mere mention of the word "tequila" is going to be enough to elicit a gag reflex. Try to take it easy on the lemon drop shots, would ya?
Oh, and listen here, 18 Year Old Wendy. Let's get one thing straight: You're a hottie. Stop worrying about every imperfection you think you have. I wish you could see yourself today the way I see you now.
When you're 26, you're going to meet a man who will change your life. He will be the best thing that could ever happen to you, and you'll marry him when you're 28. He's going to love you, despite the effects that age, child bearing, stress, and sleeplessness will have on your body. He's going to work hard to be a provider for you and your children. He's going to stick by you when the world feels overwhelming, and he's going to love you, even when you fall to pieces emotionally and physically for a few years, after the birth of your 3rd baby. Be patient. True love awaits.
18 Year Old Wendy, one day, you're going to be tasked with raising three little girls. There will be moments that you wonder how you'll survive another day. It's not going to be easy, but they will bring you immense joy, and fill your days with childhood wonder. Savor those moments. Kiss their noses and their toes, look into their eyes, and listen to them when they're trying to talk to you. They will need you, and you will need them more than you can ever imagine.
Today you dream of going to Broadway (well, anywhere that you can sing with a group of performers on stage, really), but you already know that isn't going to happen. You're going to start nursing school soon, and it is a career choice that will be a bigger blessing in your life than you can ever imagine right now. Something that has never crossed your mind is that, one day, you'll be raising a child with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease...and that you'll have Celiac Disease yourself. You will never plan to grow up and become an advocate for Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac awareness, but that is where you will find yourself.
Stay strong and resilient, 18 Year Old Wendy.
See ya soon,
39 Year Old...
NHBPM, Day 3 -- Dear 18 year old me. Write a letter to yourself when you were 18. Be sure to tell yourself what to do more of, what to do less of, and what you have to look forward to in the next few (or several) years. This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J