A Letter to My Seventeen Year Old Self

This is a letter I wrote one night when I was feeling nostalgic after realizing it has been ten years since I graduated high school! Reflecting on the last decade has given me so much perspective for the present, and my concerns about the future.

Dear Seventeen Year Old Self,

Congratulations. You survived high school, and you’ve got nothing but the best years ahead. The future is full of promise, everybody tells you. You wonder what that means, and how that will take shape.

Will you continue dancing? Because that’s all that really matters to you now anyway.

Will you finally get a boyfriend? Because things are currently, well, complicated (and you don’t even know what a facebook status is yet).

Will you marry him? Will you marry young like mom and pop? Will you have four children, just like they did? Who knows. And who cares, right? Those are not your concerns at the moment.

Is the Ateneo going to be as amazing as everyone says it will? Was Psychology the right choice as your major? Will you fulfill your dreams as a teacher? Is that really what you are meant to do with your life? These are your concerns at the moment.

And lastly, will you find yourself? Time will tell.

Dear Seventeen Year Old Self,

Thank you for your questions. I would love to answer each and every single one of them in detail. I would love to give you a peek into your future—the next ten years of your life, because those years will be so pivotal, so powerful, and so full of surprises. They will change you, and stretch you, and break you and make you. But I won’t. Because where is the fun in that?

I want to tell you that you will dance for a while, but not the way you used to. Not without the obsession and tenacity that filled your high school years. You will eventually stop, because you will believe you no longer have the time, nor the interest, nor the talent. Neither of those reasons are true, but you will decide on this, because other things will need to come first and you will see those as worthwhile.

I want to tell you that yes, you will finally get a boyfriend. But you will not find love there. Not yet. It will be a volatile relationship with a hold on your heart that you will not have the strength to sever. Thankfully, it will end and it will hurt, but not for long.

I want to tell you that you will find love, just not where you were looking for it. You will be re-introduced to Love Himself, who had been waiting patiently for you to come around. You were so far away from Him all these years and you didn’t even know it. And then Love will introduce you to someone who will change your life, maybe even save your life. I won’t reveal more than this, but definitely go on that mission trip you were invited to recently. I promise it will be worth it.

You will marry young. Certainly younger than you had planned. But that will be worth it too, because Love is generous and does not break His promises. You can expect a miracle…maybe even two of them.

I want to tell you that yes, Ateneo will be as amazing as everybody says it will be. School will take on a new meaning for you, and you will love every minute you will spend in its classrooms. Yes, psychology was the right choice, because people will always be of interest to you. No, you will not be a teacher (at least, as an official profession), but life will give you numerous opportunities to share the lessons it will teach you, and this will be enough. At least for now.

And that thing you were meant to do with your life? Here’s what I can tell you. It wasn’t just one thing. It will never be just one thing. But you will find it, and you will pursue it, you will carry it, you will create it, you will dream it, you will commit to it, you will write it, you will fulfill it, you will love it. And life will be made more beautiful by it.

I want to tell you that you will find yourself. You will try to find yourself in books, in music, in dancing, in professions, in people. But you will not find yourself any of those things. Because you will learn that you are bigger and deeper than any talent, any skill, any interest, any hobby, and relationship, and any job.

You will learn that you are Love’s creation, and you will find yourself in that.

Dear Seventeen Year Old Self,

From where I stand, life looks promising. Like you, I have many questions. Like you, I don’t know what lies ahead. But unlike you, I know how the last ten years played out.

Love was found in the last ten years, and as I look ahead, that is all I need to know. Even if the future remains uncertain, even if risks are more dangerous, and the stakes, higher. Love is with me now, and that makes all the difference. There is no need to fear.

That is why the future is full of promise, and that is why I dare to say that I, like you, only have the best years ahead.


Your Twenty Seven Year Old Self



About the Contributor

Patricia Gonzalez is a young wife, a mom of one (going on two), a writer, and an aspiring entrepreneur. She has a blog called, What To Do With Daylight, is her personal reflection on time and how to spend her days. Coming from a family obsessed with punctuality and raised in a culture where to do or be one thing is simply not enough, her blog seeks to marry an obsession with timelines, schedules, and to-do lists with a proper discernment of the essentials. This article was originally posted in he blog.

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Artwork by Pearl Choco, our Brew Your Best Year Contributing Artist.

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