Dear 16-years old me,
I know you think I'm old. I know you think life will never be better as it is just now. I know you think that by the age of 34 you will be married with kids. Your heart is still whole, no cracks whatsoever. Innocent almost. And let me tell you this, you will go through rough times. Your heart will be broken, you will cry in your mother's lap for hours, days, months until you won't have any more tears to cry. You will go through transformations, year after year and at one point you will be looking back, accepting your old self but embracing your new one. You will travel to exotic places, the more different they are from home, the freer you will feel. The direction you go will change many times but the path will always be the same. The path of freedom, independence and purpose. You will feel insecure at times, alone, yet not lonely. You will become braver than you ever thought you could be. Surrounding yourself with strangers that can become friends for life. Or surrounding yourself with nothing but your own presence, quiet, at peace. You will be seeking solitude and you will be seeking company. The thirst for adventure will always be bigger than the thirst for career and money. Yet, you will try to find a job that brings you joy. And that, my 16-years old me, is still your mission 18 years from your NOW. But we are getting there, it is closer than ever.
But what if I tell you that in exactly this moment you will be sitting on a tropical island and surf until you can't paddle any more? What if I tell you that you will feel the greatest feelings of pure happiness and serenity? What if I tell you that you will have a small but strong circle of friends that catch you, when you fall from the edge? And what if I tell you that you unconsciously grow this circle all around the globe?
What if I tell you that your heart will heal, that you will love and will be loved? What if I tell you that you will meet people you will have a special connection with? And that some won't be part of your life for long, but they will teach you. And some will stay. For good. Either way they will make you grow and transform again. They will make you do crazy things, good and bad. They will even make you dig deep into your soul, finding childhood traumas on the bottom. Knotted around your mended heart. And little by little you will untie these knots. And little by little you will understand yourself on a new level. Self-compassion. It will push you further on the path you are meant to be. You will start to feel comfortable being on your own. You will realize that you won't need someone to feel attached to to be whole. Hearts can break. Hearts can heal. You will heal.
So what, my 16-years old me, if I tell you that you will feel all the ups and downs, all the highs and lows, all the feelings of sadness and happiness and that you can pull yourself out of the darkest corners of your soul? And that you will sit on empty beaches, get lost in lush jungles and strange cities, you will be staying in the middle of nowhere in the woods of the north with nothing but your own toughts, you will stand in front of warm-lighted pagodas, on top of mountains, be in salt water until your fingers are wrinkly? Doesn't that sound like the complete opposite of what you think it would be like, 18 years from now? Doesn't it sound like one hell of a life? I bet it sounds frightening to you. But let me tell you this: I was frightened. I was afraid to take a leap. Jump. But since I AM YOU, since I am looking back to my old self, writing this letter to you, I can proudly assure you, it will be worth it. It will be worth all the suffer and the tears and the insecurities that I still feel today sometimes. Because it is your life. It is your path. It is you, who can change it and only you. And in this exact moment I'm writing it all down, sitting on a tropical island far away from the place I used to call safe haven, I am glad it all happended the way it did, because otherwise I would be a different person and I am, in fact, very happy about the person I see in the mirror today.