Dear 17-year-old Kirstyn,

How I wish I could have written to you when you were this age. Although, something tells me you’d just shoot over a classic nod and grin…that same one you’d shoot when people flooded you with those warnings on just how fast these years would fly by. Once they looked away you’d brush it off because you were so ready to be eighteen…twenty one…living on your own. I’d tell you its true, these years will quickly slip through your fingers and that alone will teach you the importance of living in the moment and loving every second of it…this lesson in particular will be especially true later on when you will be faced with some pretty big challenges… but don’t worry, you make it through.

Speaking of worrying—stop! Relax and know that 99% your parents are going to be right. Listen to them. Thank them for everything you have and for everything they sacrificed to give you everything you ever wanted and more. Later on you will realize this and wonder why you were such a drama queen.

This is just the beginning and you are going to begin developing a fearlessness that is really going to help us out later in life. Don’t get caught up in the promises of big paying jobs…it’s all smoke and mirrors really. Nurture and encourage the growth of your artistic side.

I know you would’ve loved to hear that you are absolutely one hundred percent perfect just the way you are. I would want to tell you to stop sweating the small stuff, because trust me, you will grow and see just how small and irrelevant some of those things really were. Hell, spend the money on those Starbucks Frappuccinos because your body can handle those calories for now. Don’t worry about what everyone else is aspiring to be and don’t put so much pressure on yourself, you will figure it out. Your instincts are better than you think…trust them. Trust your gut. Don’t lose your adventurous spirit and fan that flame of curiosity that burns bright…oh the adventures you will have.

Hug Grandpa…hug him a lot.

Girl, you have no idea just how strong you are going to become. Don’t cry over that boy…he’s not the one, trust me. I know you would want to hear that you are going to marry a wonderful man…a man that loves every single part of your being. Also, you can say you’re never having kids all you want…but you should know that you are going to be a mom when you least expect it and it will be magnificent. That little boy is going to look at you and you are going to wonder how in the world you ever existed without him.

Please stop wearing silver eye shadow and go easy with those cryptic AIM messages. You’re NOT fat. Be kind and go on adventures. I won’t tell you not to make the mistakes you are going to make because every mistake, every twist, every turn…it is going to lead you to who you are today. It is going to mold a life that isn’t perfect and yet still incredibly beautiful…and if I’m being honest we have never really been good at that perfect thing…so stop trying to be. Simply know that you are loved and the future you’re working towards right now is brighter than you can imagine…it includes the sweetest little family and an amazing job that you are obsessed with. Buckle up buttercup.

Much love and luck to you over the this next decade.

xx