Dear seventeen year old me,
Looking back at all of the years the first and most important thing that I can say is that you will find happiness, contentment, and a fulfilling life. You will make a difference and you matter.
The journey will be hard, but the path you take will make you who you want to be in the end. All of the heartache, trials, moments that you make it through will be the mold of who you are in the future. Fight through your insecurities; they will always be there but you are capable and will overcome them. Hold your ethical and moral ground, and even though you will make mistakes and make choices that lead you astray for a while, keep finding that moral compass and it will lead you back. Listen to your heart but use your common sense so that you do not lose yourself in others. You cannot save everyone; you have to be okay before you can help anyone else. You should never allow anyone to abuse you or hurt you; never let them make you believe you deserve it. You can overcome trauma. You can make it. You can never stop believing that.
Your parents do care about you and your growing up is also hard for them and they are doing the best they know how, even if they make mistakes, you are making mistakes too. Try to find compromises and listen to them while still advocating for yourself.
Your best friends will be the ones that tell you when you are wrong and help you fix mistakes, not cover them up. You will cherish them and they will be the ones you stay in touch with for the rest of your life. You will have a wonderful, caring partner and beautiful children that you will love more than you could ever have imagined.
You will find happiness when you aren’t expecting it and when you aren’t trying to plan for it. You will find fulfillment when you are not searching for it but instead appreciating all you have. Happiness will come to you when you stop wanting and start just living in the moment, taking advantage of the things you can control, and not focusing on the things you cannot.
Stay strong and never give up, it will be worth it!
Me (Kristy Hoel, 31 years later)
(Kristy Hoel, Math Teacher)