Sabrina is an 18-year-old senior from Bellevue, WA. She loves to figure skate, eat vast quantities of frozen yogurt, and jump in lakes in the middle of the night! Her favorite subject is English, because she loves to write and read anything she can get her hands on.
Dear 12-year-old Sabrina,
I know you won’t listen to me, but the simple truth is, almost everything you think is of utmost importance now really does not matter in the long run, and is simply not worth getting upset about.
Remember how at the Winterfest Social last week you were so sad that Michael didn’t ask you to slow dance? Well, as an omniscient messenger from the future, I can officially reassure you that it is not, in fact, because he thinks you’re too skinny/your boobs are too small/your voice is too shrill (although it really is… you should work on toning it down some, because if there’s one thing the next 6 years of compulsory schooling teaches you, it’s the value of a soft, unnoticeable voice during class—teachers never notice it!) No, worry-wart Sabrina; as shocking as it might be, it turns out that 12-year-old boys are just as awkward about girls as 12-year-old girls, like yourself, are about boys. Michael actually thinks you’re really pretty (you’ll find that out yourself in a few weeks from one of his friends) and was simply worried because he’s never slow-danced before. He didn’t want to mess up! And there you were thinking it was something about you…
The truth is, all of the myriad, petty social dramas that send your emotions ricocheting between euphoria and misery, and everything in between, are truly inconsequential in the long scheme of things; heck, they’ll seem inconsequential even to you in just one more year, when the far more serious, meaningful dramas of eighth grade will drive all 7th grade preoccupations far from your mind. You won’t find that out until next year, but for now, just take my word for it, and please try to stop stressing so much, or you’ll give yourself an ulcer! If it takes a friend 5 minutes to respond to your message on IM, it is not because she secretly hates you; I promise you that she just had something else to do, and did not read your message right away. Trust me. Small things like that are not worth freaking out about!
Oh, and another thing you shouldn’t freak out about? Grades. Yes, your grades are important; very important. But if you keep pushing yourself so hard this year, you’re going to burn out by the time you hit high school—when grades really start to matter, in terms of college admissions! So do your best, but be sure to enjoy yourself while you can. You’re still young and carefree, and one C on a test is no reason to beat yourself up if you tried your best and resolve to do better next time.
One more thing worth mentioning is your sister. If I remember correctly, you’re furious at her for basically the entirety of the year, not to mention throughout all of middle school! And I know, her hogging of the bathroom and incessant chatting with her “boyfriend” late at night might make you feel like screaming now, but believe it or not, you’ll act pretty much the same way when you’re 15 in 3 years, so try to cut her some slack. Don’t forget that she’ll be off to college before you know it, and you’ll regret all that time you wasted fighting with her. She will be gone for 9 months each year and all you’ll want is for her to come home again. You guys do have some things in common, even at this point! Swallow your pride and ask her for help doing your hair (by the way, straightening your already-thin, flat hair is not a good idea…) or teach her how to make hot cocoa the way you do every night— believe it or not, she’s always wanted to ask how you make it so delicious. She was just too proud to ask! Sound familiar? Just give it a shot, and you might find that you actually like her; strange as it seems, you’ll be pretty good friends in about six years!
Well, that’s about it for now, Sabrina. You can’t learn without living through your mistakes, that’s all the advice I’m going to give you for now. Remember to keep your life in perspective, and don’t get too caught up in things that don’t matter very much—it’s not worth it. Keep your chin up and enjoy your last couple of years before high school, because your middle school years are the most fun years of all!
With all the wisdom you’ll incur in the next 6 years of life,
Your 18-year-old self!
Photo Credit: Sawyer Pangborn from Flickr Images