If I’d Only Known: A Letter to My Younger Self by Steven P. Arthur

You’re not going to like what I’m writing to you, as a matter of fact you will hate it, but these are things you need to know. There is more to life, the world, and your role in it than you can ever possibly know or imagine. And the decisions you make will have a ripple effect that will extend beyond your lifetime.

Despite your parents’ best efforts, and an adolescent idolization of them, they are fallible human beings. Don’t hold those failures against them. Eventually you will find out how imperfect you are as well. Your father is a simple uneducated man, but he will teach you that loving your family and making fast friends are the most precious things in life. Your mother will be by your side no matter what, doing her very best even as her mind fails and turns on her. None of us have all the answers. You are going to make many mistakes. But you can avoid many of the life changing mistakes if you try. I wish I could save you from the terrible pain and anguish that you cause yourself and others, especially others. But these are the hard lessons that will help you mature and ultimately become the man you were intended to be. Take responsibility for those choices, own them, make restitution if you can, learn and move on.

I cannot emphasize the importance of your formal education enough. School will play a major role in the development of your social skills, and the knowledge you obtain will enhance that experience. Most of what you have learned through TV shows, movies, and social media has only served to add to your confusion. Listen carefully to teachers, mentors, and authority figures. Some people will try to help you and others, driven by their own insecurities and bewilderment, will try to hold you down. Being part of the human race means that you are a unique and special part of something much bigger than you. With that comes not only responsibility to contribute to, but not take away from, the greater good of your local and global communities.

Cooperate, but don’t try to be someone you’re not, or let others dictate your life. You don’t have to do this alone. Don’t be afraid to lean on those who love you. They won’t mind.

You will only find loss and frustration in trying to live the lives of others and in trying to meet their expectations. You will make many friends and a few enemies. Forgive them. Forget the wrongs of others; they are just as confused and new to life as you are. Don’t blame, make excuses or procrastinate. Bitterness and revenge are soul draining and ultimately pointless endeavors.

Your father taught you, “It’s not what you own, but what you do, a kind word or gesture, that’s important.” And few, if any, of our accomplishments or petty disputes will be remembered in a hundred years.

We all have expiration dates. Your time here is short. Much too soon, death will take away some of your greatest allies. But through all that you have and will experience, for the unknown and unknowable future, if you give your best effort, you will find the person you are not ashamed to be and show him to the world.

error: This content is copyright protected.
%d bloggers like this: