Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Letter to Myself - Half a Lifetime Ago

Me at 17
Dear 17 Year Old Robin,

You’re graduating high school this year!  Can you believe it?  This senior year you’ve just started to embark upon is going to be one of the most memorable years of your life.  I know your high school experience up until this point hasn’t been the greatest.  Teenagers can be cruel to kids who actually like learning, who don’t know how to dress “cool”, are socially awkward, and aren’t the “prettiest peach in the forest” – you’ll find out what that means when you’re 33.  But guess what?  Like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

College is going to have more highs and lows than you can possibly imagine.  Continuing to compete in sports acrobatics for your first 2 years is going to give you more confidence and discipline than you can comprehend.  And when you quit, you are going to feel LOST.  And scared.  You’re going to join a sorority which will bring you some of the most amazing friends – and will also show you the kind of woman you don’t want to be.  But unfortunately you’re going to have to become that woman first.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to continue to fall into the deep depression that has been setting in since you were in 10th grade.  And that depression is going to grow and manifest in you – exponentially.  You’re going to turn to alcohol to deal with it, and sex.  You are going to HATE yourself.  You’re going to hate yourself so much that one day you’re going to learn the horrendous buzzing in your ears that results from chasing a bottle of Advil with a bottle of NyQuil and vodka.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to graduate with a degree in math – whoda thunk? You’re going to be a teacher and learn how truly patient and strong teachers are.  And you’re not going to share those gifts.  So you’ll move on, to another job that you don’t love.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to start competing in fitness competition.  You, on stage in a bikini.  Remember that little wall-flower you were through high school?  She takes a flying leap out of her shell – more like a swan dive into an empty pool. You’ll obsess over how you look, over what other people think of you, over every little fat cell.  You’ll spend 4 years of your life dieting and gaining, dieting and gaining.  You’ll stare at yourself in the mirror no less than 20 times every... single… DAY.  The very thing you started to build confidence will completely destroy it.  You’re going to deal with feeling ugly, and fat.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to enter a relationship with the most amazing man.  Jesus.  Yeah, remember him?  One day He’s going to knock on the door of your heart, and you’ll finally invite Him in.  He’s going to show you that your fitness career was never about you, it was about everyone else BUT you.  You met some of the most incredible people. You found friendship, you found lovers, you found people who had a place in your heart before you even met them.  You found that you have a gift for helping people.  That love of learning that you were once ashamed of will prove to be one of the things you value most about yourself.  That love will help you change the lives of others, give them their health back, find a confidence in themselves that they’ve never seen before.  And every night before bed, you’re going to pray that this is one thing in life that does last.

So 17 Year Old Robin, you have a crazy, beautiful, tragic, exciting, scary, depressing, joyful life ahead of you.  So this feeling you have now of being scared where life is going to take you… like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

Almost 34 Year Old Robin

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