Dear 16-Year-Old Erika,
I am writing to you from 16 years in the future, in our future home where you would be living with a husband and a son. It is a totally different time now. The digital world has evolved so powerfully. Our country is still a third world. And surprise! Our dream to be an actress came true!
Those are just some turn of events. But you would still go through a lot. That’s why I want to give you some thoughts, a little wisdom I’ve earned through the years, to make your journey as beautiful as it could be.
I know you’re busy balancing academics, school council, other activities, and home tasks. It could be stressful, but believe me, you’ve always excelled despite pressure. Take one thing at a time with focus. Complete the task in detail so moving on with the next means really checking the previous one off the list. This will hone not just your ability to concentrate, but will teach you confidence to trust your strengths, develop awareness to improve your weaknesses, and the character to take on more valuable responsibilities.
In a year, you’ll be in college, at the best university in the country. You will meet lifelong friends, but never forget the ones you already have from before, and also the ones you will have after. Take care of them all because they are as precious as family.
Your college years will be too eventful. You will be making choices, and some of them will be the wrong ones you’ll make in this life. Temptations, people, opportunities will be all around you. Be courageous with the right balance of cautiousness to discern every situation well. And if ever you find yourself on a fall, stand up, because you always have it in you to make it right.
Our parents by the way will make things a little tougher. They will give you responsibilities that you will hold for years. You will struggle with different emotions because of all the attachments to the role. But overall, it will make you grateful. You will appreciate the blessing of having more than most people. Remember, our parents would die for you, like how you would for your future child. So what they ask of you is for your own good. In time you will understand when they say, “I will not feed you to the dogs”, “obey first before you complain”.
Moving on with life after school, take note to be kind and humble. You might be more blessed than others, so always try to understand with a genuine heart. When the situation is reversed, turn the same heart in modesty. This kind of attitude will teach you lessons and build your character.
Take care of your finances. Don’t spend money you don’t have. Educate yourself on the options that investment brings. Don’t be afraid to do the dirty work to earn every centavo. And be wise in making it work for you as you work hard in acquiring them. As much as money isn’t everything, it will always be a powerful tool that you can use to live the kind of life you prefer.
Run your own race. The goal is to always better yourself. Looking at others should only be for reference, ideas, and inspiration. But the intention is to always unfold a new version of yourself. That will make you a winner, that will make you a success.
And in this journey, here are some quick notes that should always be in your pocket.
- Make sure that you trust your instincts. It is true when they say that the vibes you get don’t lie.
- Take lots of photos, so you have something to look back on. Pictures will make things easy to remember.
- When you get the chance, travel and see the world. It will make you appreciate the greatness and littleness of things.
- Put down your phone if it’s not necessary to use. Talk to people as much as possible.
- Keep the habit of going to the beach as regularly as you do now. The water will always be our friend.
To top it all off, never forget to pray. Never forget that you can only do things because Someone from above allows you to. Pray for His guidance and grace so you can fully live the promises He has for you.
There’s so much more I could share. But all you need are these gentle reminders to keep you on track. I’m already assuring you of a bright future ahead. Just take care of each and every moment you are in, and without a doubt, you will have more than you could ever hope for.
PS. Enjoy cheering for Ginebra. In time, you will make an unexpected shift to the other side.
Erika at 32
What letter would you write your younger self given what you now know about the world, life, and yourself? Share them with us by commenting below!