A Letter To My 17-year-old self

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Jack,

You have just turned 17 and you seemingly have the world at your feet. You’re in the process of completing your HSC, you have a great bunch of friends around you and you’re a young christian.
I’m going to give you some advice as the next ten years are going to be a bit bumpy. There are gonna be highs, you can be guaranteed that there will be lows but all of that is what will make you the man you are today.

So, you’ve just turned 17 and have moved yourself into year 12. Study has never been one of your strong suits and you’re not going to be defined by what mark you get in the HSC.
But we both know that’s not because you lazy, it’s because you’re not an academic. You like school (mainly for the friendships) but struggle with other aspects of it. That’s ok. You’re going to feel like a fish out of water sometimes but it’s all going to work out.
Do what you’ve been doing since year seven, keep trying hard and look for ways to improve (I can’t stress that enough!).
You’re ATAR (UAI) isn’t going to be flash, but that doesn’t matter as you’re going to go to TAFE and not bother about uni. You’ll study community services with a lot of older people but you’ll pass. It’s going to be a tough course and you will struggle a lot. Ask for help! I shopuld have done that at your age but I was too stubborn and cared too much about my ego.
You’ll then take a gap year and bounce back into a diploma which will be even tougher but keep your eyes on the end goal to get you through. Use your fellow students for assistance. they are a great bunch of women who have lots of life experience, something you have nothing of.
You’ll work in disability for 5.5 years. It will be a struggle but it will teach you perseverance and what it means to be a hard worker. Your hard work will pay off and towards the end of your tenure you will be picked up by another team who will cherish you and build up your confidence. They will put trust in you and it will feel amazing.
You’ll connect with a lot of great people (some that you’ll still be close with in ten years time).
The time will come when it’s time to move on however. Your yearning for journalism and commentary will be too loud to ignore.
It will be one of the scariest decisions to make in your life and you’ll be uncertain of it. You will do it and the future will be fine, don’t stress about the days to come as God has your back, Continue to trust God and don’t look back.
You will enjoy your commentary and journalism career more than your work in disability. Despite it not being paid, it will give you a new lease of life.
Through your new studies you’ll meet two new blokes that will be friends for life and two people who you will have lots of fun with. Don’t let them get away.

You’ve just started attending Jannali Anglican night church. You don’t really know that many people and that’s why you run out almost immediately after the service is over.
You’ll keep doing this but then things will change. You’ll gain more confidence and start to make new friends. Two guys will take you under their wing and spend time with you and introduce you to your friends, these two friends will be your two closest friends ten years later. Trust them, as they are amazing guys.
You’ll also have other friends… Friends that don’t have your best interests at heart. They’ll lead you down a dark and scary path that you’re not supposed to be on.
You’ll get arrested in roughly 15 months, it will be one of the scariest nights of your life. Your dad will be so angry with you that he wont be able to look you in the eye. Your mum thought you had died when she received the call from the police station, she will have that disappointment in her eyes. You’ll need to earn back their trust.
You’ll lose a lot (including those friends) but it will be worth it. You’ll realise who really cares for you and the court case will make you trust God more than you ever have before. It will also shape you into the man you are today by making you understand what it means to be punished and to face consequences for your actions.
The next ten years you will grow with God but will also fall into a rut. You will find it difficult to focus on God fully and will get distracted by things that don’t matter. You need to fight against these feelings and honour God with all of your heart.
Your brothers in Christ will be the warriors guiding your path with Christ.

Sorry to break it to ya Jackyboi but you’ll still be single when your 27. It won’t be through lack of trying but just won’t have happened yet. It is something you will struggle with immensely, especially when your close friends get married. You have to fight against it constantly and not let it rule your life.
You’ll have relationships but they’ll be short-term. You’ll date a girl from church that is younger than you. A Caring girl, but a girl you weren’t really into. You’ll break up with her after 6 months after treating her poorly. You’ll get back together not long afterwards and things will feel more complete. You’ll do things to honour her, you’ll try and help each other with your walk with Christ, you’ll even think about marriage. It won’t happen though.
She’ll break up with you and you’ll feel the most unbearable, searing pain you have ever felt. Your world will cave in and you wont be able to hold back the tears. You will feel like everything is useless. Don’ try and win her back; you will just embarrass yourself and she will hate you for it. Forgive her and don’t let the friendship you two had dissipate.
The break-up will be worth it though as it will make you a stronger human being.
You will continue to flounder with girls by making the wrong choices, you’ll hurt a girl that cared deeply for you by being lazy and dating her friend who just used you as a rebound. Things won’t be the same with this girl and you will drift away.
The loneliness felt will be hard, but you will never be lonely with God by your side.
This will be a time where you have to cling close to God and give up your problems to him, you won’t be able to battle this on your own.

Your sister (Stef) will get married next year and her and Chris will have two wonderful children. Two kids that will mean the world to you and change how you look at life.
You will form a strong bond with your nephew Theo who adores you and lights up when he sees your face.
They’ll move down to Melbourne to train to become missionaries. It’s going to be tough and you are going to miss them, but they are doing it to spread the gospel and deep down you know its the right thing to do. Cherish every moment you have with them in the next ten years, you won’t regret it.
You’ll still live at home (after having a failed attempt at moving out).
Your respect for your parents will grow throughout your 20’s and you will realise how much they mean to you. You’ll be scared of losing them. So cherish them and show them your appreciation each day.

I could say so much more but I know your attention span is waning and you’re probably thinking about cricket or soccer or what mum is cooking for dinner. So I’ll leave it here but leave you with this:

Your next ten years is a roller coaster ride but one that is satisfying as well as tough.
Don’t take anything for granted. Also, don’t stop making mistakes Jack, it’s how you learn.

Chat to you in 10 years buddy.

-27 Year old Jack

 

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