To 18-year-old me,
As we enter 2013, there are a few things that I wanted to tell you.
First, let’s talk about your eyebrows. You might want to check out a salon for something called waxing or threading. Seriously, don’t wait until you are 25 years old to get those furry caterpillars professionally groomed.
But despite those bushy eyebrows and other fashion faux pas, you will get through college. I know you have this fear of not being enough. It’s a secret anxiety that one day someone is going to tell you that you don’t belong and that it was just a mistake that you got into this integrated BS/MD program that your parents can’t stop raving about. But who cares what they think? Don’t worry that you are not smart enough or outgoing enough or cool enough. Stop worrying that everyone else knows more than you. You will do just fine through college and medical school. and residency and fellowship and basic science research. It will be a very very long road of learning, so just try to take it slowly and enjoy each moment of learning.
You are one of those lucky people that gets to go to college with your best friend from high school. Treasure it. There will be times in the next 15 years when various obstacles may make it difficult for you to talk every day, such as when she goes to live in Asia, or when you move to the East Coast. But your friendship will survive all of that and you will plan weddings together, be each other’s maids of honor, go on vacations together, talk about the joys of pregnancy together, and even have babies that are only one month apart in age! And yes, those high school girly dreams of growing up as BFFs living in the same city…they do come true!
One of the things you will learn in college is to not be afraid to express yourself, through music, through acting, through writing. In a few months, you will participate in a large Asian American cultural show. You will find yourself transitioning from one of the skit writers to all of a sudden being one of the main cast members emceeing the show. You will stand onstage in front of hundreds of people wearing coke-bottle glasses, pigtail braids, knee-high socks, speak all your lines in a Steve-Urkel nasal voice and make a complete fool of yourself. And you will have So Much Fun.
Remember when you started college and you so non-chalantly announced to everyone who cared (= nobody) that you were not interested in being attached to any sort of boyfriend during college, ESPECIALLY not during your freshmen year? Yeah…about that…I think all of your close friends have noticed that you have started to increasingly get attached to the telephone on saturday nights. That boy who calls you from NYC every two weeks, the one who you spend hours talking to, sitting in the dorm hallway, winding and unwinding the telephone cord in your fingers, cheeks flushed with excitement after you hang up the phone at 2AM. Just go ahead and tell him that you like him. Really really like him. Tell him that he makes you laugh and challenges you to think in ways that no one has ever before. In exactly one year from now, on New Year’s Day of 1999, he will ask you to be his girlfriend. You will live more than 250 miles apart for the next six years of your relationship before you finally get married, so get a good phone plan. And listen to him when he says that cell phones are very useful things to have.
Enjoy being 18-years old. Don’t worry about being the best at everything or having a detailed plan for the next 15 years of your life. Spend more time wasting time with your friends. Write down your thoughts. Take more goofy pictures. Don’t be afraid to fall in love.
Life as an 18-year old will be awesome this year, don’t change a thing about it except maybe your brown plaid hooded toggle-button coat. The one that makes you feel so hip and trendy when you wear it around campus? Not so much. Unless you are going for the Obi-wan-Kenobi look. And the denim overalls, Stop Wearing Those.
Love and Happy New Year,
Your 33-year-old self.