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The Station

The Station

The Station

Letter to my Teenage Self


Dear Stephanie,

Let’s get the craziest part out of the way first: you are about to be twenty-six years old! I know that might sound hard to believe considering the things on your mind now, but I assure you we made it.

Actually, you didn’t just make it, you are CRUSHING IT. You are about two and a half semesters from graduating college to pursue a career in writing. Okay, I know you’re probably doing the math, and finding out that means you have spent around six years fighting for a four-year degree. While that’s true, I ask you to please hear me out: you weren’t ready. You jumped straight into college the fall after your graduation, bright-eyed with a rose tint to your glasses. You also tried to balance a full-time job on top of full-time studies. You ignored the fact that you did nothing outside of working, studying, and sleeping, and that ended up causing you to crash and burn. Hard. By spring 2021, you were so burnt out, your mental health was abysmal, and you failed out of college.

Stop panicking! Don’t forget the part where I say you are currently doing so great and almost done with your bachelor’s degree! After you failed out of college, you went through some of the hardest years of your life. You had to confront things that you pushed deep, deep down into your brain. All those negative thoughts you had swirling in your head since high school were still there, ever so negative, and ever so debilitating. You decided to take the jump into getting some help, and that day marked when you finally got control of your life. You recognized that you were deeply unhappy and made the decision to finally do something about it. You chose to live instead of just survive.

Steph, please, stop being so HARD on yourself. I know you walk around the halls of that school convinced that everyone hates you. Please let me be the one to tell you that they don’t. You can’t keep deciding that for other people, they should get the chance to decide that for themselves! In your college classes today, you actually talk to people! You better believe it! You sit down and start small talk with everyone around you. You go to social events and you smile at strangers when walking down the street. I know you don’t believe that you could be that person, but you are. You are so funny, smart, and interesting Steph. I know your inner voice tells you the exact opposite, but you need to make peace with her. You and that voice will spend a lifetime together, it’s time to start making peace with your permanent friend.

I know you are thinking about a very permanent solution to your problems. I am so sorry that you are feeling this way, truly. Do me a favor, it’s a long one so get ready. Look at the weather app on your phone, just do it! See what time the sun rises tomorrow. Get up 10 minutes before that time. Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, even if it’s the summertime. Grab your phone. Now, walk out to your backyard, sit on the pool deck and play “Vienna” by Billy Joel. Now sit with your hot chocolate, listen to Billy Joel, watch the sunrise, and think.

Think of how refreshing ice-cold glass of water is after a hot day, of how fun it is to drive with your windows down while blasting music, of how warm the sun feels on your face, of how good birthday cake tastes, of how great it is when fireflies return in the summer, of how beautiful the stars are on a clear night, of your sister’s crooked smile when you tell her a joke, of the peacefulness you get when reading a book while sitting with your doggie. Think of how beautiful, serene, mystical, and blissful all these things are, and keep thinking about them. Even when it rains so hard you can’t hear when the darkness gets so overbearing that you can’t see. It’s most important to think about them in times like those.

Steph! I can’t believe I haven’t told you this yet: you are engaged! I know this is great news for you, considering you are about to graduate high school and missed out on the whole “teen love” thing. Trust me, it’s not all it’s cracked out to be. You meet this man, Robert, when you’re twenty-three. He looks at you like you put the stars in the sky. You are currently in the planning stage of your wedding, you just said yes to the dress of your dreams!

One more thing before I go, please know you are happy. Truly 100% happy.

See you soon,


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