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A Letter to Myself at Seventeen

13 September 2013

Earlier last week I saw this amazing article from Self magazine online all about how on a "down and out" sort of day, the author received a letter she had written to herself nearly 10 years ago. This was such an inspiring article to me because it makes me think about what I will find important enough to advise myself about if I wrote this type of letter.

Reading this inspired me to share some advice with my 17 year old self. 

Dear Sarah,

You are 17. You are just coming out of a really rough, self-doubting year. But you will use those experiences to connect with youth in the future. Senior year will be one of the best years of your life! Be thrilled and excited about that! Pay a little bit more attention in math, it will do you justice later! 

More than anything, focus on developing yourself and your relationship with Christ. Friends and boys will come and go but Jesus will always be with you. I'm only ten years out from you and I can tell you that who you end up marrying is worth the wait! He is smart, will be everything you hoped for and is just wonderful. And not to break your heart, but it his name is not Dan and it isn't Kyle.

There is no need to be afraid of living. It is time for you to let go of being in control all of the time. Relax a little bit. Go with the flow. And you don't have to have something to say about everything! Spend as much time with Jen, Katie and Eric as you can. They will be your best friends [for the rest of your life]. This year you are going to be offered opportunities to break out of your comfort zone and you should do it. From DisneyWorld to being a leader at Kairos, always say,"yes" to opportunities. Practice patience and always show grace to others. Go on a big trip before you go off to college.

I know that there will be a lot of days that seem overwhelming but you will definitely get through it. Be open to the possibility that something wonderful is about to happen. Many days will feel like "fat" days where you think you aren't good enough and aren't pretty enough. And your natural reaction is to take that out on yourself. But don't. You are beautiful and perfect. Just the way you are. Focus on being healthy and strong. Skip the junk food and continue to exercise. 

Most importantly, be happy. Do what makes you happy. Cherish the time you have at home with mom and dad. You will miss them dearly when you grow up and move away. And that goes for grandparents too. Ask them to tell you their life stories. It is so worth it!!

With you always,


Have you ever written a letter to yourself? What would you say in a letter to your former self?


  1. I like the idea of doing this to send to your future self down the road. I've done this several times at the end of mission trips! Writing a letter to capture the moment of how our hearts are after that experience so that once we've returned to "life as we know it" we can have that reminder sent to us of continuing to serve those around us even though we aren't on a mission trip anymore.

  2. Such a great post! If only we knew then what we know now.

    When I was 14 I wrote a letter to my future self and was surprised when it appeared in my email on my 18th birthday. It was interesting. Ha.


  3. This was really cool... if only we knew then what we know now. And someday we'll be looking back on THIS age too - I have been trying harder to "enjoy the moment". It's good to be excited about what the future holds but I also don't want to spend all my time looking ahead and waiting for "bigger" things.

    In 8th grade we wrote letters to ourselves in English that our teacher sent to us right before graduation. That was just weird, and funny.