It was difficult for me to decide which piece of wisdom I should give you. Not because I am so much wiser than you. In fact, it’s the opposite. Though I have had more time to learn, it turns out I am a slow learner. I continue to make the same mistakes and learn the same lessons. I am no wiser than you, I’ve just lived longer and am finally starting to notice the patterns in my life.
You’re likely thinking, “Wait, are you telling me I’m never going to learn? I thought this letter was going to make me feel LESS scared!” Which brings me to my chosen piece of advice for you, my younger self: Don’t let fear stop you. Yes, I am telling you you’re always going to be scared. Unfortunately, fear never seems to leave our side.
I know fear can feel paralyzing. It stops us from making decisions. It makes us shut down. But there have been times when we have put that fear aside, and taken a leap of faith. Remember when we were too scared to go on rollercoasters at theme parks? Dad and Caroline would go, while we stayed behind with Mom to ride the “easier” rides. One day, we put that fear aside and bravely ventured onto one of the “scary” rides. It was exhilarating. We rode it again and again and couldn’t imagine a time before we dared to ride that ride.
Remember in high school when we decided to audition for a musical, having never sang in front of an audience before? We weren’t sure we could do it. We blacked out and don’t even remember the audition. But we did it! And musical theater became an important part of our life for years after that. We couldn’t remember a time before musicals.
I’m reminding you of these times to show that, even though some days it feels like fear is ruling your life, you can, and you have, overcome it. You don’t have to let fear stop you from trying new things, from taking risks, from doing something you want to do and not worrying about the outcome. Some of the happiest moments in our life, the times we’ve felt most free, have come from taking a leap of faith and overcoming fear. Let’s do more of that!
I’ll let you in on a little secret, younger self: this letter is just as much advice for you at your age, as it is for me at this age. I’m still figuring everything out one day at a time, but from now on I am going to strive to not let fear stop me. Together, we can build a more fun, more rewarding life for ourselves.
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