Dear 21 Year Old Me:



If you could speak to your younger self, just what lessons, and wisdom would you provide? Would you warn yourself, or allow the mistakes to happen, and thereby usher your growth as a human being? Me? I'd like to think I would let LIFE happen. lmr

Please... JUST SHUT UP!!! 
Be quiet and listen to me, kid!  Aiight?:

How are you today?  Truthfully, you seem lost, and a tad out of sorts.  You okay?  Well, you will be okay soon, kid. 

First of all, yeah, I said it. You're still a kid.   Yes, I know you hate to be called a 'kid'... but in the Grand Scheme of Human Existence, that is exactly what you are.

Well... now what, kid?   You finished school.  You've just quit your first real job.  You feel misunderstood, like no one ever gets you. You're always nervous. You take yourself and life far too seriously. 

Yo!  Lighten up, dude!

This is what it feels like to BE ALIVE! 

You're what?  Just turned 21?   You are waaaay too young to be so old.    

I can promise you this:  It really ain't that serious.

Your friends today, may not be your friends tomorrow.  Those tried and true, ride or die people are the ones who will stay around and support you for the long haul.  The rest?  Well, think of them as signposts.

As Gandhi said,  'never let anyone walk through your mind with "dirty feet."'

Remember that always.

Also, please beware of thieves, crooks, charlatans, deceivers,  madmen with normal faces, Colgate smiles that tell you lies.  Be ever vigilant that a whole cornucopia of trickeries await you.  
And oh...speaking of which, you know that orgy room you'll be invited to... in the early 90s...  ummm... you might wanna pass on that one!  (Just saying)

My advice?  Go back to school.  Age like a fine wine. Get a degree... or don't get a degree... but take the opportunity to learn some new things about yourself and this world you inhabit.

And damn it!  Stop smoking so much!   In fact, please STOP smoking altogether!

Hug your parents more.  More specifically, hug your father more, and tightly, and remember his smell... while you still have him.

Learn to ignore those shrill voices that mean you harm.  People can only hurt you IF you LET them.
Love... Real Love awaits you when you are truly ready for it.  

Learn to listen more than you speak.  Observe people...   human interaction is a science.  Study well,  the moves, gestures and body languages.  They will tell you far more than even they might know.

Learn to trust your instincts.  Learn to grow with grace.  Learn that you know nothing. Learn that every day  you live provides a new chance to learn something you will need.

Look people in the eye.  Unless they are sociopaths, those who look right back at you are the ones with nothing too huge to hide.

There is poetry inside you.  Embrace it.  Never be afraid of it. Tell your stories. Write from your soul. Maybe you can be good at this thing.

Forget trying to control anyone or anything.  It's impossible.  The best you can do is to control your own reactions.

Laugh as much, as LOUDLY and as often as you can.  Laughter can save a moment, rescue you from that sudden decent of craziness... and laughter just might save your life.

Even when it makes them uncomfortable, boldly tell those few people who are Special to you that you love them... because you may never see them again.

Only do what you love to do, and do it well, and then, in the doing, find a clever way to make it pay... and your spirit will never be broken again.

Live each and every one of your passions out loud!  They are God-given.  They belong to you for a reason.
And today, this very moment, I'm not saying what you feel now does not matter.  Everything you feel is legitimate.  Especially your pain.  Pain is necessary.  Own it and learn from it... but never wallow in it.  Never give it permission to darken your heart!  And never allow it the power to overpower the sheer and unique and celebratory beauty that you are!

Instead choose to snatch JOY whenever possible and in every situation you can!

Life will become this complex maze, a series of weights and pulleys, live mines and gauntlets... and trust me, you're just at the starting gate. It's all ahead of you.  You're almost a clean page, a blank slate.  What you write will matter someday, to someone.  

Please do not waste even an ounce of time because time is just an illusion, you can not hold it still, because it has a will and a way of escaping through your fingers, if you're not careful. 

Be careful.  Be curious.  Be kind.  Yes, I know, life  has the ability to be this mean, rough, unseemly bitch sometimes.

But trust me, kid.  It does get better!

That's it.  That's all.

Snatch JOY!


copyright © 2016 by L.M. Ross



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