As this year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the journey of the last ten years, and to the next ten years. I find life broken down into chapters, yet a common theme goes throughout.  A theme that I finally acknowledged, and took control of when I chose to change my external appearance. I sat down to write my teenage self a letter as well as myself ten years from now, the man I hope to be.

Dear 15 year old Robby,

As I am writing you this letter I find myself, overwhelmed with a complex array of emotions and thoughts.  My mind is flooded with so much I want to tell you and help you with but I know how ADD you are so I will keep it to the point. 

Be Authentic: If there is one thing I could instill in you it would be to; be authentic.  You’re currently living but a masquerade of whom you think you should be.  You live to gain acceptance and to please everyone around you.  The insecurities and voids inside of you are crippling you to the point of not even knowing who you truly are.  Your perception of the world is seen through a false story you keep telling yourself. Until you live your life for yourself and not what you believe others want or expect from you, you will never know true happiness.  You will look back on this time and think, why did I wait so long? All of these people you are living to please don’t love you, they can’t love you because they haven’t been given the opportunity to know you, truly know who Robby is.  They know who you think they will like, what a shame; Not only for you, but for them. That’s right, not only do they not know you, but you’ve yet to discover yourself.  But buddy, when you do you are going to be pleasantly surprised at how incredible you are. 

Fear of Failure: Failure is terrifying.  What if they don’t like you?  I mean, you don’t even like you right now.  What if you aren’t as nice, fun, smart as they think you are or should be?  You’re right, what if?  What if you wake up every morning for the rest of your life dreading what you are going to find in the mirrors reflection? Or that your authentic (there it is again) self comes out?  Which fear are you willing to live with, the one that disables you or the one that pushes you to be the best version of yourself?  This BS story you’ve been telling yourself needs to find its ending.   You are good enough. I know how you see your parents and your brothers but, guess what you will soon realize, they’re not perfect.  One more thing: You’re going to fail! After each failure you are going to pick yourself off and try again. Failure is an essential part of life; it’s in failure that you learn the biggest lessons about yourself. Don’t be scared to take chances, playing it safe is why you never get what you want.  That girl that you like so much, go tell her.  If you are tired of being overweight, change it. Now. 

Live in the Moment: You’re not happy, so you stay in your own little world and don’t live in the moment. I honestly look back at my past that you’re creating and it’s all kind of a blur.  You are going through the motions of living a life. Allow yourself to live each moment to its full capacity, you’re missing out on those moments.  Those moments that bring a smile to your face every time you reflect on them, the moments that give you butterflies over and over again.  You’re missing out and these moments that will last a lifetime, if you seize them. You will accomplish so much and rise to heights you never thought were possible but you have to be present and enjoy them.  Be grateful for each moment, as it’s a gift.

What I want to leave you with is a challenge. I challenge you let your authentic self out. You have a warm, loving personality that people deserve to see.  You may not be where you want to be, but you are good enough now and can be even better. Its extremely cliché but you still need to embrace who you are in this moment, Let your personality come out not just what you think others will like to see.  I know the purity of your intentions that’s how I can, without reservation tell you to just be you.   Someday this won’t sound like a lecture; someday you will look to these words with great pride as you will be living them, proudly.  You will not only change your life but so many others by living an authentic life filled with love, empathy, humor, and faith.  Here is to your future, go get it!