Dear Future Me,
What advice do you have for me?
-You, 1 year ago
You know how you've had a suspicion for a couple of years that you have depression? Turns out you're right, and you're just beginning your longest and worst depressive episode yet. From this point to the end of the semester, there will about five days or less that you actually feel happy: treasure those days. You're going to feel like you're breaking apart, and then like you're a collection of shattered pieces, somehow managing to drag yourself through the motions of life.
I promise you, though, that no matter how broken, how much like a failure you feel, you will get through this. Not only will you get through, but you will do well; you will succeed. You'll even meet your own ridiculous expectations for yourself. Just remember to actually extend some understanding and love to yourself.
Things will look up and get much better much sooner than you think. There will be a lot that you don't know, a lot that you're unsure about. Some answers you'll get, others you'll have to wait longer than I know for. Trust in God, and everything will be better than okay. Even your near future holds more happiness than you now dare to imagine.
Dear past Sheebs,
Do not make a bet that your seven-year-old laptop will survive your five-year program. It will die before the end of your first semester.
-Future Sheebs, now in debt one DQ Blizzard
I know it hurts, but it'll pass. Some days will still be hard, but there will also be moments you'll be glad you stayed around for. Keep going for those you care about and appreciate them every day. You are so lucky to have people who love you.
Don't beat yourself up too much for still being hung up on that jerk. It will take time, but the process will make you a much happier and healthier person than you ever expected.
Start trying to be healthier. Eating right and getting more exercise will help your mental health a great deal.
Spend more time treasuring the college experience, because it will end before you know it. Tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them.
Keep a journal, because in the coming years these are the moments you'll want to remember.
Don't be afraid to give things up if you feel overwhelmed or unhappy. Simplify your life and focus on the things that matter the most.
And most of all, don't worry. Even if things don't work out the way you expect, they will work out.
Dear You Who Is Me But Also You,
Summer isn't going to be quite as idyllic as last year's was. Some of your friends will be around, but many of them will actually be doing things with their life and either won't be around to hang out or won't have as much time to do so as before. None of this is bad, it just means you need to be more proactive. If you wait around for someone to invite you to do stuff, you're going to spend a lot of pretty lame nights just sitting on your couch and bemoaning your dull life (because, spoiler alert, all of your roommates are going to move out once spring hits. Oh, and, on that note, you'll balk at the thought of having a guy you knew on the mission move in with you, but he ends up moving into the ward anyway and he is totally not the royal pain that he was back in Florida. He might very well be preferable to the Ecuadorian who will dirty all your dishes and snore so loud that he wakes you up at night).
(Of course, letting the Ecuadorian move in is a very charitable thing to do, since he's in a bit of a bind, so you're just going to have to play that one by ear.)
Also, you're going to end up single again once summer starts, but don't worry, things end well. Trust her when she says she's not mad, even when she appears to disappear off of the face of the earth for about a week. Your gut instinct is actually right on this one, though the advice you get from people who think the opposite is also valuable in general terms.
So, bearing in mind that you're going to be single, don't immediately jump to the conclusion that girls in your ward are romantically interested in other guys in your ward just because they happen to, I don't know, MAKE FRIENDLY CONVERSATION AT A WARD ACTIVITY?!?!
(Sorry, you just were really overreacting for a while back there, and with hindsight it's pretty darn ridiculous.)
Other than that, you should be fine. Things go much more smoothly this year, in general.
Don't forget to pay your tithing for 6 months. You'll suddenly remember and have to pay hundreds of dollars all at once, clearing out a large portion of your bank account, and for the first time in probably your whole life you'll find yourself with exactly $0 in checking, two weeks away from your next paycheck.
Also, I know you're really nervous right now about how things with Q will turn out. I know he's a much better prospect than any of the other guys you're going on dates with, and you're excited to finally like someone again. I also know you're really scared he won't like you back, especially because he's giving you crazy mixed messages, but remember that fear doesn't only protect you from failure, but also from any chance of success. So be brave and keep talking to him, and you'll be happy with how things turn out.
Oh, and don't forget to do your homework. You can't complain about bad grades if you never make homework a priority.
Dear 2016 me,
It's okay that student teaching is hard. It's okay that you're realizing that teaching might not be your life calling. Teaching is insanely difficult, and it's okay to burn out and change your mind. You're 21. You don't have to have everything figured out yet. You'll get through this and you'll learn to love those students like crazy, but they are going to get SO much harder to deal with in the coming months. Don't be afraid to be the big, bad teacher that they think you already are, but don't be afraid to be their friend when they need it, either.
Also, Alan Rickman is going to die tomorrow (1/14). Sorry you had to find out this way. Go watch Die Hard in his honor.
You're about to begin one of the most enjoyable years of your life! It will not be without failure, trials, and heartbreak, but you'll be able to look back on these things and see how you have benefited from them.
Don't invest too much of your time and heart in one guy if you're not sure he likes you back. Keep balance in your life. Chase your dreams but don't lose yourself in them because there might come a time when you have to choose between your dream and yourself and you don't want to lose them both. Continue trying to keep God at the center of your life because He will never fail you.
Whatever else happens over the course of this year, you will not have the regret of laughing or loving too little, and I think that makes the year a success.
-the Goose Girl
Dear Past Self,
Your fears about graduation being terrible and ruining everything are true. You might feel like many of your friendships and acquaintance-ships are location-based, and that they will slowly wither and die... this too shall pass.
So before you graduate, apply for a Critical Language Scholarship. A fully-funded year abroad to study Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian? You will regret forgetting to apply, you dumpster-diving hobo, you. Why didn't you apply? Neither of us has or will ever have any idea, frankly.
Dating? It is a trap, and you sha'ant have any positive results this year, though you will earn a bad date story to exceed any other you may ever have. And the girl you are trying to go on dates with right now? She is about to friend-zone you, and all your efforts of trying to do stuff with her all summer and fall shall come to naught... as will the opportunity to do a documentary intership with her abroad. She'll choose full-time employment over adventure, homeslice, so don't, like, put your life on hold in the meantime. Also, I still don't know if you will ever do that internship. You will, however, end up living in the padres' basement at some point in time. At least there's yogurt.
The Board? You won't be writing as much this year, but you'll still enjoy it, and it will be one of the few things that will remain constant through all kinds of change.
Your summer job is going to be just okay, but you will make enough money to have adventures across the Americas, some of which will be entirely unexpected. Buy a memory card before you snorkel with sea lions, by the way. They're cute. And they will bite you.
So have fun this final semester, adventure with your cool roommates and have some self-compassion. You're not going to really know about your future any better a year from now, but you will—at the very least—have some interesting stories to tell about it.
Suerte from the Future (and Puerto Madryn, Argentina),