I wrote the piece below for a class I am currently taking. Our assignment was to write a letter to our younger self in the style of the "Letter to My Younger Self" column on The Player's Tribune. I wrote mine with style and syntax inspiration from my favorite post, which was written by Deion Sanders. Our only goals for this assignment were to be as transparent and honest as possible.
Letter To My Younger Self: Lucky
You’re lucky. A 10-year-old who almost always gets what she wants. Like from your mom and dad – whether it is material things, like a plethora of every toy that was on your list for Christmas, or more important things, like constant love and attention. You get it all.
It’s the same everywhere else you go. In your small town, you feel known and appreciated: you have been at the same local dance school for five years now and are one of the best in your class, your teachers rave about you every year (and always mention to your parents you’re one of their favorites at parent-teacher conferences) – even the woman at the local deli always recognizes you with your mother on Sunday’s and offers you a free cookie.
You don’t know any different.
It’s always been this way.
You can remember as early as first grade. You loved having friends and having good teachers, but you loved writing more. Writing. From the minute you could hold a pencil, you were putting words on paper. At first, you would scribble lines on a piece of construction paper in your den at home, even though you knew no one could read it. You called it “Rachel Writing.” Then, first grade rolled around and you could print legibly enough that people could read what you had to say. And you had a lot to say. Throughout elementary school, your writing was always picked as some of the best: your “news” story you wrote every morning on that half sheet of paper and got to share at morning meeting, or your hamburger paragraph organizer (you know the one – the buns are the introduction and the conclusion, the burger and toppings are all the good stuff), or your poem that got published in a book of children’s poetry in fourth grade.
In the years that follow, you start bringing papers and stories home. Like everything else you do, your parents love them. You start mailing things you write to your grandparents in Connecticut. Your grandpa raves over every single one. He says he shows them to his friends at church. You keep mailing them. You keep writing.
By the time you start high school, you know you want to go to college to write. You’re in the highest intensity, college-level English and writing classes, and you still get A’s in them. You still get almost everything you want.
At the end of your freshman year, you attend the high school graduation and hear the Senior Student Speaker – a senior who is chosen on behalf of the rest of the graduating class to deliver a speech during the ceremony. Within minutes, you know you want that to be you senior year. You go to graduation to hear the Student Speaker again the following two years. Senior year, you craft one of your best pieces of writing yet, and audition for the role. Of course, you get it. You almost always get what you want.
June of 2016, you deliver a speech full of heart, laughs, and a few tears to over 1,000 people. Your whole family is there. Your grandparents drive three hours from Connecticut to watch your five-minute delivery. You make sure to speak extra clearly so your grandpa can hear you from the other side of the gymnasium.
That fall, you head to college – for writing. You pick Elon University in North Carolina – partly because it’s beautiful, but mostly because it has one of the best communications programs in the country. You eventually pick your major, Strategic Communications – it’s writing heavy, and you get to pursue strategy and marketing, too.
The next year, you decide you are ready to enter the real world and apply for internships. After extensive research and phone calls, you find your dream internship in Boston. You get through the whole interview process with what feels almost like flying colors.
Then, you don’t get the job.
Or any internship you applied for that year.
You spend the summer back home in your small town, working at the summer school your mom works at. You realize life is a lot more than almost always getting what you want.
Then, fall of your junior year rolls around, and you head to Ireland to study abroad. You get back on your feet a bit and start applying for spring internships.
Then, your grandpa dies.
While you’re 3,000 miles away. In Ireland.
You don’t go home. You want to, but it’s too far with too little time.
You don’t always get what you want.
Five days later, you are offered a spring internship at your first-choice agency in High Point, North Carolina – a 45-minute commute from Elon. Two weeks later, you land that dream internship for the coming summer in Boston– the one you didn’t get last year. The one that made you realize life is a lot more than always getting what you want.
You write a speech to be delivered on your behalf at your grandpa’s funeral. You know he heard it – more clearly this time – and maybe he showed his friends.
At the ripe age of nearly 21, you haven’t gotten what you wanted many times now – and you know you aren’t going to get what you want again.
You started a blog and you wrote about it. A year later, you’ve gotten over 10,000 views.
You’re lucky you don’t always get what you want.
Just living, learning + loving and writing some of it down along the way. Senior + Director of Panhellenic Recruitment at Elon University in North Carolina. Currently interning + curating social for some badass clients at SFW in Greensboro, NC. Yogi, sightseer, shopaholic, foodie, writer.
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