An open letter to 18 year old me

Dear 18 year old me,

It has been quite the interesting ride lately. I don’t know if you would necessarily be proud of me lately. I feel like I’ve failed you, only because this career path has been harder than I expected. I’m second guessing my career choice that you have originally wanted to pursue at the beginning of college, and I know you’re just beside yourself right now. I’m so sorry I surrounded you with unmotivated peers in the Pre-PT track. I’m sorry that I didn’t know what to do in school and I left you hanging. I’m sorry that I let you sit and listen to an advisor tell you that you wouldn’t make it as a clinician. I’m so sorry I lost passion and drive that you have. I’m so sorry I left you hanging when you didn’t know where to go. I’m so sorry that I let you fall in the trap of greek life. Most importantly, I’m so sorry I left you hanging with stress. You shouldn’t have had to deal with all those tears.

I wish I would have made it easier for you. If I would have known, I would have done things so differently. I wouldn’t have done other things that got in the way of your future. I wouldn’t have taken classes that you weren’t ready for. I would have actually signed up to volunteer and observe at the hospital. I would have done things SO differently to have healed you. I wish I can go back and do it all over again, just for you. I would have chosen another school and find more people to help us out, but I can’t.

If only you would know, the stress, identity crises, and tears have increased since we’ve grown up. Being in your early-mid twenties is so weird. However, we’ve had some great moments along the way of growing up. You got to step foot into two prestigious Chicago hospitals within a year from each other. You joined a prestigious dance medicine organization. You got to help out a child with special education accommodations and helped him grow during the school year in a pandemic. You got to work with clients individually, all on your own! You work with your dancers privately to help build their strength up. You met your first mentor who made a huge impact on you, and left you incredibly inspired. You set choreography to go on a competition stage for the first time and your dancers did amazing. You even had a dance place in a performance division at a break the floor convention, so crazy! So many good things have happened since leaving college. It was definitely the best thing for you. As long as I let you know this, I think you could have a chance at being proud of me.

Now as I write this, I have no idea if I’m going to continue my path to becoming a physical therapist. This would now be round 3 of applications, and I’m unsure. I hope you know that I might keep trying, but I’m not sure if I’m pushing something that might not be what you intend to pursue. I look back and remember how much love and passion you have, and I might have to remember that if I need an extra push to keep fighting. I wish I didn’t mess up, but it helps me to realize where and who I wouldn’t want to work with. We’re in a slump, but I think that we can get through it. We’re on the waitlist for some therapy and to get some help and to make sure I am willing to keep going. I wish I would have taken therapy and mental health help a little more serious.

Life definitely is not what you expect. It isn’t an easy ride, and I wish you would have been able to understand that. I hope I can heal you soon, I wish I could have made it better, but maybe if it didn’t happen this way, you wouldn’t have experienced the things that made you happy. Remember that you are amazing, and you have so much potential that you would have never known. Sweet girl, I promise that I will work on healing you soon. I will make it better, and hopefully work on giving you a life that you would have never expected. You are amazing, despite being young and naive. We will make sure we make a huge impact on so many different people, just like others made a huge impact on you.

I’m sorry, but I’m also very, very proud of you. You are stronger than you think you are, and you have more potential and greatness than you think. Go get em, my love.

Love,

24 year old me

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