A Love Letter to My Younger Self: Thank You For Being You

Angelina Astic, Contents/Copy Editor

To start, this is, as evidenced by the title, a love letter to my younger self and all the past phases and versions of me. The ones I adore, the ones I cringe at. The ones where I triumphed, the ones where I made mistakes. The ones where I learned about the world and the ones where I learned more about myself. Why? Because, while a bit cheesy, I would not be the girl I am and continue to become without the past versions of myself. 

I have always loved meeting and interacting with new people. As soon as I could smile and wave at others, I would. At every. Single. Person. My parents always joked that I was running for mayor, making sure everyone knew who I was. While my mayoral ambitions are behind me, some things have luckily stayed the same. I still love to talk and smile at people, to a fault. I mean, I was voted ‘Most Talkative’ as my senior superlative if that is indicative of anything. 

My younger self was so unbelievably confident. My goodness, she could take the world by storm. During kindergarten, I opened the elementary school talent show in a big white and gold dress singing “Love Story” by Taylor Swift (I have always been a Swiftie). Younger me could not have cared less about the judgements and opinions of others; I miss her. 

Elementary school was tough but so beautiful. The most incredible gift that life gave me in those years is my little brother, Aiden. I know life would be incomplete without him. Becoming a big sister has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime. 

Middle school was also tough. I wish I could go back and give my middle school self a hug. She struggled to find herself, dealt with a bit of criticism and desperately wanted to find her place amidst all the madness. But it was not all bad. In middle school, I fell in love with my sport, and more importantly, came to love the horse. 

The infamous horse years. The ones my younger self was made fun of for (do not worry, we laugh about that now). My mom (hi, best friend!) grew up loving horses and wanted to share that same love with me. She and I grew closer throughout the five years we spent riding together. Our horses, Lizzie, Ace, Sunny and Willa T became such important members of the Astic family. Thank you to my mom for supporting me when I decided to focus on school and gaining admission to university and making the decision to put horseback riding on pause. Now, three years later, I cannot wait to return to the sport I love so much in just a few short months. 

Teenage me has gone through so many changes, reflected by all the different versions of me that color my past. High school me has grown so much, I barely recognize the girl who entered Miami Palmetto Senior High four years ago. Some things remained the same. For one, I never really became a big party girl (you’re welcome Mumsy and Papa). I still love to read and write (thank you, especially to Ms. Seupersad, Mrs. Meyers, Mrs. Perse and Ms. Spivak for that), but most importantly, I let myself change, albeit with my fair share of growing pains.  

Fifteen. An interesting year to say the least. I was still in that difficult trying-to-fit-in stage. I dressed, acted and personified someone entirely different from the person who I knew myself to be. 

Sixteen. COVID-19 dominated my sixteenth year. I think I learned, like so many of my peers, just how adaptable I am. How flexible and okay with change I am. I am so unbelievably thankful for all the lessons the pandemic has taught me. 

Seventeen. That was rough. The year you danced your whole life dreaming of (where are my fellow dancing queens?). It was nothing you expected, but are you surprised? I learned a lot at seventeen. I learned how to go through pain, lift myself up and most importantly, how to ask for help. 

Eighteen. I cannot believe I am here. I thought I would be sad beyond comparison to leave seventeen behind, but like anything in life, I should have known to expect the unexpected. I could not be happier to be eighteen. Now, at this very moment in time, I feel happy. Happier than I have been in a long time, and I am proud of that.

As I sit here, with Kelsea Ballerini’s self-titled album blasting in my ears, I realize some things. One: life goes by fast. Like bullet-train-on-a-tight-schedule fast. Two: a lot of the expectations that your younger self has set for you are entirely different from the life you go on to live in the future. Three: happiness is everything, even if it means putting yourself first. 

To future Angelina, I hope you are happy. I hope you are changing the world and loving others until you feel your heart could burst. I hope you challenge yourself and stay open to what the world has to offer. I hope you support and cheer on those around you. I hope you are in love. I hope you continue to grow and evolve, just as you always do. 

Sending you a big hug and a bottle of kombucha, 

Your future self.