An open letter

To the girl I hope to be one year from now:

Today you sat on the airplane, ready to embrace the way spring quarter has a way of making things new – the vibrant energy of a fresh start. The girl next to you is staring anxiously out the window, crying on the phone with her mom. You find she’s a freshman at Cal Poly. She’s beside herself worrying that you two probably won’t make your connecting flight to school. When you sat in her seat two years ago, this would have rattled you, too. But now, a few too many travel fiascos later, you shrug in an unphased understanding that worrying will only waste your energy, it won’t change what time you land, and that you’ll make it back to school eventually.

The more you got to know this girl, Emma, you couldn’t help but smile thinking back to your 19 year old self. The things Emma worries about used to cloud your mind when you sat in her shoes – like changing her major and ending her high school relationship and her GPA blow from Calc Two. You didn’t dismiss her worries, and listen with concern, because they are valid and important to her here and now. But – by seeing your younger self in her skin you recognized all the time you worried over these types of things was only energy wasted.

In hindsight – I see life worked itself out not because of how much I worried or how hard I tried to be in control but because I filled my days with things and people I loved and God made a way.

And what I pray for you – in the next year, is that you’ll let God draw you towards Him and remind you life is no different now. It’s hard to see how life unfolds day by day, but from an eternal perspective, I think there’s hope in simply looking for where the light is and following it.

I hope you boldly follow the gentle nudges of the holy spirit that push you towards truth and growth and the things that really, really, matter.

I hope you choose not to see this little encounter with this worried girl as a coincidence. I think its the whisper you’ve been praying for, God urging you to loosen your grip on the things you let consume you now, too. A sign to acknowledge when worries aren’t worth your time and heart. You’ll always have a mind that runs and wanders but I hope you allow it to become a strength and not a weakness. Let it run its crazy circles around what is really worth focusing on – use it as a tool to create big brilliant ideas and a faith with deep deep roots.

I hope a year from now, if you meet the girl who worries her body will never look just right or that she can’t possibly please everyone around her or that she’ll never find a career path she’s excited about, you smile because of the peace you feel. I hope she makes you laugh knowing you’ve outgrown her, too.

The outward confidence you have grown in the last two years is enough to settle Emma and her nerves into her seat. I pray that same confidence grows inwards, too. I pray the worth of who you are because of your capability to love and be loved settles into your soul. I hope this sureness grows strength and poise and empathy. I pray you begin to envision the highest version of yourself and start showing up as her. And if you commit this, I am confident you won’t let a second of your last year in this special chapter of life go wasted.

I hope that when this chapter is over a year from now, you’ll graduate and enter the real world with a sureness of your value. Because that is how you will enter the real world with boldness and authenticity and a fire in your heart. I hope you take this next year to prioritize presence and people and learning. Fill your days with the things that bring you joy and love and decide, now, that they are not worth anything less than that.

Lots of love, I hope you take it.

Riley

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