I would write to a younger me, age 18.

My dear girl,

You are still a girl at heart, but you are now also a young woman. You are on the verge of making decisions about your life, decisions that no one else can or should make for you. It can seem scary. You’ve always had rules to follow and adults’ judgment on your behavior.

That will not go away entirely, but let me tell you that you will be the one to decide what rules to follow and which adults’ opinions matter to you. You need to know that you might make mistakes. Everyone does, whether they admit it or not. I would like for you to remember that most of the people in your life are just doing the best they can.

Elaine and Christi her daughter

They do not have all the answers, and so you shouldn’t take what they say as undeniably true. They are just giving to you what they have been able to piece together about life. It will be up to you how you piece life together. Some will claim that they have all the answers and try and get you to follow them. I have found that they are just scared to face the mystery that Life has to offer. Forgive them. Turn your face to the Life that brought you into being. That Life will show you the way…day by day. Do not be afraid. Learn all you can and be generous (not haughty) with what you have learned. You’ll be the adult that someone with a child’s heart will listen to. Be kind.

Tell us if you can relate to Elaine and what your letter would say.

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