Letter to My 17-Year-Old Self

Dear Alex,

I know you've been wondering about this, so to answer your question: you just know when you love someone. It’s a dim, flickering flame, but it’s there.

That little flame feels insanely massive when you think about Brandon right now, but let me tell you, it grows.

Yeah, girl.

You and B haven’t said I love you yet, but you will. I’ll spoil it for you and tell you that you’ll have to wait a few months before you guys have the nerve to say it to each other. It’ll be on the phone, at the end of one of your long nightly talks, and you’ll both dance around it before saying it. It will be so classically you and him, you don’t even know. But I guess you’ll find that out over the next 10 years.

Oh, sorry. Another spoiler. You marry your high school sweetheart. You’ll be long distance for a while and break up, too, but you find your way back to each other when you least expect it.

I want you to know right now that you’ve found a good one. You’ve chosen a person who’s heart is bigger than you realize and who is endlessly patient and kind and trustworthy and good. I know it’s easy to want a relationship that looks like the movies, but you have something so much better than that.

You have a person who sees your strength even when you don’t. I’m not gonna lie, it’s gonna be a roouuuggghhh transition into life after college. You’re gonna work jobs you hate and severely miss your college friends. You’ll cry so much and he’ll still remind you that you’re strong and that you’ll get through it together. And when you start this blog thing and constantly freak out over whether or not you’re good enough, he’ll remind you again and again that you’ve got this.

You have a person who is just as silly as you are. Those dance moves and accents and quirky things you do when no one’s around? You let him in to all of that and he joins right in. Your inside jokes with each other get stranger and more obscure every year, but before you know it he’ll be making up random songs too.

You have a person who values your independence. He’ll show that to you by encouraging you to hang out with your girlfriends, even 10 years later. When you’re freaking out over which university to transfer to because you want to be close to him but also want to move away, he’ll encourage you to go to the school you really connect with. And when you do move away, he’ll be so incredibly chill about how busy you are with school and debate and work that it'll make long distance easier to handle.

You have a person who is your partner in adventure. Both of you will chase big dreams that don’t make a lot of sense to anyone else, but you’ll do it together. He’ll lean on you and you’ll lean on him when you get tired and need a pep talk. You guys will take the plunge and move away from home when it makes the least amount of sense. And it’ll be great. Challenging, yes, but also really rewarding.

You won’t have everything figured out at 27, believe it or not. What you do have is someone who’s figuring it out with you.

Maybe you don’t go bowling as much as you say you want to (but let’s be real, do you really like bowling that much?) and sure, it sucks not seeing him every day. But know that this not-seeing-him-every-day thing, it prepares you for when you only see him every three months.

And remember that you’ve found a good guy – I won’t call him a man yet, but he gets there.

OH! And if you’re wondering what you guys will look like in 10 years, here you go. You know Chloe from theater? She’s a photographer. You’ll run into each other again and she’ll take your pictures in your home. Also yes, you wear your hair down and curly all the time now. You’ve learned to love it and rock it.

A huge, amazing thank you to Chloe for these photos! They’re our first since we got married three years ago! Check Chloe out on her website and instagram!

XO, Alex