Dear Al, 

On your first day of college you will think you are lost. Do not panic - you are standing right in front of your dorm without even realizing it. You will never forget what that building looks like again, and, in the future, you will smile when you think back on this memory. 

Those things you sometimes tell yourself are not true - you are not who you think you are, and your personality and image will continue to change every time another layer of yourself is pulled back. It is normal to be unsure. 

You have a habit of wearing your emotions over your sweaters. 

You will think you'll never find anyone who understands you, but I am here to tell you that you will. But not without heartache - there will be days where you will feel like you are dragging your heart behind you while others watch it bounce across the pavement. Most people go through this, so just know that you're not alone. You're surrounded by people who are trying to figure the world out, too. 

You will believe you've found the best friends of your life, so you will be disappointed to find out that you lose them. It will be one of the greatest tragedies you face, because you will spend so many days pining for people who will never allow you back into their lives. You will want to wish bad things upon these people - don't. 

You will halt your healing by hardening yourself to the world. 

Which you do. Of course you do - you will carefully attempt to choose the people you let near you again, and that means you let no one near you again for far too long. 

A girl will come up to you with cupped hands full of the pieces of you that you have never seen before, but she won't put them back for you. Because no one can ever put another person back together, but she will watch you as you slide these pieces into place. You'll soon realize that these pieces fit just as well here as they did there. 

And you'll realize that the friends who understand are the ones who let you be sad around them; the ones who help you fall in love with yourself before you fall in love with them. 

You'll be timid around these new friends because you have jagged pieces. But so does everyone else. You've just been so wrapped up in thinking you were the only one that you forgot everyone has to go through the world in their own way, too. 

And, at the fresh new age of twenty-five, you will finally, finally understand that life is not perfect. You will be good at your job, but you will not be in love with it like you thought you would be. You will be far away from some of your best friends, but best friends come in all fifty states and you'll love the sweetest souls in the cubicles around you. 

You will have a boy who makes you feel like magic even though you're just you, and you will have friends who somehow know what you are saying in-between your words. 

Make sure you find more friends who write you letters, because they are out there even when you can't see them at first. Make sure you write when you are feeling like you have something to say, and don't worry about the times where you go weeks without putting more than ten words on a page. Read the books that make your soul happy - you need books more than anything. Call your friends on your way home from work. Meet them weekly for coffee and laugh so hard your face hurts.

It's okay to cry over happy endings. 

Try to keep that passion you have every morning when you get in the car, and do your best to laugh when you spill your coffee all over your loafers. 

Unfortunately, this happens quite often. 

Alexandria GryderComment