A Letter to Teenage Shane

Dear teenage me,

You probably thought that by now I’d be brimming with advice and important life wisdom that I needed you to know. I thought I’d think of plenty of anecdotes to tell you.

Now, I realize I am not sure what to say, which I guess is a good thing. There is no amazing advice I need to give you. No secret message to fix everything. Could you do college differently? Of course. Could you have a better relationship with your parents? Obviously. Will depression come back, self-esteem continue its roller-coaster ride, and your room remain messy? You betcha. But, that’s ok. That’s life.

What I guess I do want to tell you, though, is that you haven’t gotten that good at all things you want to be better at. Well, I mean that I’m not yet what you consider to be good. You want to command a room like your friend Mark, be able to make friends with anyone like Isaac, and crack jokes like Roi. You have a whole list of ways you could be a better person and another whole list of people you want to be like. Well, like I said, you can’t speak like Mark, you’re still a bumbling mess around strangers, and your jokes are still equally hilarious, but mostly only to you.

I can say that you’ve slowly realized you don’t need to be like Mark or Isaac or any of them, because no one can tell a Shane story or plan a spontaneous adventure like you do. You can make people feel comfortable around you, your sarcasm is so good that most people don’t even get it, and you’re still really funny. Yeah, of course I am going to keep practicing and trying to get better at all that other stuff, but just remember to look around and see all the things you’re good at too. I count at least 3 talents, but counting might not be one of them.

– Shane

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