Dear Type-A, Control-Freak, 12th-grader Anna from 2009,
Yes, I just called you a type-A control freak. Because you are. You hide behind other people’s opinions and you like approval. You don’t like to think for yourself, because what if you are wrong? You follow the rules and you have this awesome confidence when you know something really well. I know this MS has been hard so far, and it’s not over yet.
Who am I, and how do I know these things? I’m you, after college. I am currently 23, and life is pretty great right now. You’re still walking, but you know all those lectures everyone gives you about stretching and exercising? They’re serious. Keep at it. You won’t regret it. (You’ll probably be lectured from all sorts of people throughout life, so you might as well learn to listen, not do everything but what you’re told.) I’m still walking, although my limp has gotten worse over time. (Keep stretching! Even as I write this now, I haven’t stretched yet today, and I feel like such a hypocrite.) I am currently job searching—the “currently” part encompassing the last month or so, but I haven’t really done anything about it until now.
I want to encourage you. Keep playing music. You just decided, about now, I think, that you’re going to major in instrumental music. It’s tough, but you will love learning all that you are going to learn. All the music theory, music history, and those instruments? You’ll learn so much! Also, keep writing. Don’t be discouraged that the story you wrote last year isn’t very good (it isn’t—what is the plot even supposed to be? It’s weak.) KEEP WRITING. You will just keep getting better. I promise. I haven’t had anything published yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. And it’s all been totally worth it. And, you’re going to get involved in this campus ministry, at first because you feel like you’re supposed to. But God is about to change your life super dramatically using it. You will love it. And you might find a future career opportunity through it. Through any of these things that you love—you won’t stop loving them. In fact, you’ll become better at what you like to do, and you may find future career opportunities through any of those things. You may be freaking out because you don’t know what you’ll be doing—that’s okay. I actually still don’t know. But one thing I’ve learned is to be okay with that.
College is better than high school. I promise. And it just keeps getting better. I am so excited for what comes next. I’m so ready to leave college behind. In a letter you wrote to your high school graduating-self back in 7th grade, you totally planned out your future. It’s kind of embarrassing, you’ll come to realize when you read it in a couple months. You’re not as bad as you used to be, but you’ll keep easing up. The details aren’t worth getting upset over. They’re not that big of a deal. As Dad says, “Don’t worry about the little things. And it’s all little things.”
There are so many things I wish I could tell you right now. You are going to make so many friends in the next 5 years! But sometimes not knowing is the best. You love surprises. So wait and be surprised. Chose a major and stick with it, but have fun! And don’t worry about the future. It takes a long time to learn that lesson, and I’m still continually learning it. God has the best for you in mind. Sometimes it will hurt, and sometimes you will cry. But it’s worth it. Live and love—you love so well. Be comfortable with who you are as an individual with your own opinions and talents—not just the opinions and talents you think you should have. It’s okay not to be the best—you won’t get to play with the Augustana Band every year, but that’s okay. You’ll still get to play. Strive to be YOUR best. There IS a difference, and it’s okay. I am so excited for you. You are faithful and fun and so great!
Anna from 2014