A Letter to 18-Year-Old Me

Last week, I sat at the first freshman retreat planning meeting for 2018. A few of the seniors started to talk about how they were looking forward to senior retreat. I suddenly (or not suddenly, this happens frequently at these meetings) felt kind of old. I realized it’s almost been four years since my senior retreat. I remember being excited, but also being absolutely terrified because I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back, I realize that’s a funny parallel to how I felt about life post-high school, so I thought it might be a fun idea to send past Rose some wisdom.

10246480_10203189726276567_8000891953015640265_nDear past me (oh that was so cheesy),

I’m not going to give you the answers to everything, because I don’t have the answers to everything. I do want you to know that you are loved. I also want you to know that (and you are going to learn this quote on your own in a few months) you are enough, you are so enough, it is unbelievable how enough you are.

I know you think life seems so difficult now. I know it seems like you’re trapped and there’s no escape. It’s like you’re shouting that there’s something wrong but no one is listening. It. Gets. Better. It really sucks for awhile, but you’re going to come out of it even stronger than before. You even learn something that you didn’t expect: Forgiveness. You learn how powerful it is and how light it can make you feel to truly forgive people.

Jumping off of that, you obviously don’t stay friends with everyone you’re friends with now. Some of that is just because you grow apart, but some of it isn’t so pretty. Because you’re 18, you so want to be angry and hold on to resentment and grudges, but give it a few years. Forgiveness and understanding are so powerful. You’ll be surprised where you end up. You’ll also love the new friends you make when you finally decide to leave your room and branch out. There are wonderful people out there. Meet them.

Me on my senior retreat with my friend Jamie

I know what you’re on the edge of your seat, wanting to ask me: You want to know if Andrew and I are still together. Well we’re not (I’ll give you a minute to freak out, like I know you absolutely are right now) but that’s okay. People grow. People change. I know you’re probably getting ready to write a “Dear future me” post about how people do marry their high school sweethearts, and yeah, people do. You don’t. And that’s wonderful because neither of you need that.

Don’t get too emotional leading freshman retreat this year. I know you’re thinking, “But it’ll be my last retreat!” Oh no. You’ll keep coming back. You’ll even decide you miss the planning meetings and you’ll start driving back for those. You start scheduling your classes based on retreat and planning meetings. Your Saint Susanna family is still one of your biggest supporters. I’m writing this to you in the midst of freshman retreat planning, which is your first retreat as an adult leader. Yikes!

You’re going to grow into a person that you truly learn to love not because she’s perfect, but because you learn that self-love is the way to survive. In fact, in July, you’ll decide to watch Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall on Netflix and discover Sierra Boggess playing Christine. You’ll decide you like her, and purchase a recording of a live show she did at 54 Below. While listening to it, and starting to think that you maybe shouldn’t be alive anymore, you will hear some words that will change your life forever:

“You are enough. You are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are.”

You truly are enough, past Rose. Live and learn. Take everything in.

Learn to love yourself.

P.S. Here are several pictures from senior year because I couldn’t pick only two favorites



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