A letter to my 16 year old self.

Dear 16-year-old Robin,

I’m writing you from 16 years down the road, from my first home, where I just moved with the love of my (our?) life. You won’t believe the amount of traveling you’ll have done by the time you reach your thirties – your trip to the British Isles in college is the first of many adventures.  That nagging restlessness in your spirit of wanting to see the world will come true; you’ll even live in Europe and you will almost love every minute of it.

So much will change for you over the next 16 years. You’ll graduate high school, go to college (at NNC(U), which at this point isn’t even possible in your mind), move to California and then to Europe for five years where you will start (just not finish) a master’s degree. You’ll fall in love and then out for a long time, and then out of nowhere you’ll meet and marry a good man who makes you feel beautiful and accepts the love you give. You’ll work various jobs, doing the only thing that makes any sense to you even then.  And you’ll realize over and over again that you don’t have all the answers.

I want to tell you a few things, some trivial, some more serious. On the light side:

  • Growing out your bangs will prove to be a good idea.
  • You will have MANY embarrassing and awkward moments, but you will always laugh at yourself.
  • Coffee will become essential to your survival, though you’re not a fan right now.
  • You will continue to love being the girl who finds joy in the little things.
  • Turns out you are more creative than you realize, it seems you got some of your Mom’s artistic gene too.

More seriously:

  • Heartbreak is awful at any age, but trust me: the heartbreak coming your way won’t last forever.
  • Knowing what (and who) you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do.
  • Over the next several years you will meet some people who are really cruel and malicious. You will learn something from each of them, and you will move on.
  • Embrace the opportunities in the near future, but remember your roots.
  • Asking questions is way more important, and honest, than having all the answers.
  • You’ll rediscover words. It will be your best therapy yet. You’ll enjoy it and find yourself in it.
  • It will be a lifelong challenge, but you have to stop trying to please everybody, trying to be all things to all people. At this point, you’ve got all the tools it takes to trust your instincts, and your instincts are good ones.

You’ll probably think I’m keeping things from you and to be honest I am, because I can’t change them from happening and they are sad and tragic will feel impossible to deal with but you will. Trust me. If I could give you a tip though, drop French class and pick up German. It will help you in the long term.

Though you don’t believe me now, everything you dislike about yourself are actually also manifestations of your greatest strengths. You have more potential in you than you can ever imagine.

Lastly, you need stop worrying about growing up; mostly because you never will.   I love you, and I’m proud of you, and I’m glad you’ll always be a part of who I am.

32-nearly-33-year-old Robin


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