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Just Chill

The letter below is part of an ongoing series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested. Today's guest is Tracy Badua, author of This Is Not A Personal Statement, which comes out Tuesday.


Dear Teenage Me,

Chill. Seriously.

Things you think are a huge deal right now probably aren’t.

That scratch on your family car? Your dad will laugh it off. There’s a reason they let you use the decade-old thing to begin with.

Fighting your parents for every hangout with your friends outside the house? Girl, you don’t even have a cell phone yet. Did it ever occur to you that they literally have no idea where you are when you’re out of their line of sight? Everyone, parents included, needs to figure out a good balance of empathy and independence.

Tracy As A Teen

That college you didn’t get into? That crushes you, I know. It’s discouraging to work so hard then be told you’re not enough (quick note from future self: you are enough). And now you have to tell everyone else who had such high hopes for you that you’re considering other options, and maybe those supporters are going to be a little less enthusiastic (or worse, judgy) about those options.

You’re going to want to evade those questions, maybe even fudge the truth a little to avoid the worst of those “Oh. Hm.” looks. But at some point, you’re going to have to face that disappointment head on. Trust me: you’ll get over that sting of rejection, and you’ll find a path forward. It’ll all work out.

It’s hard to see it now, but everything you’re going through is training for the sharp, resilient person you’re becoming. You’ll learn when to battle through and when to be diplomatic. More importantly, you’ll learn what actually is a big deal and what’s worth your time and energy: surrounding yourself with kind people, taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing, and finding ways to grow into the best version of yourself – a concept only you can dictate.

Tracy at her high school graduation

Yes, you’ll run into plenty of obstacles and letdowns in the future (spoiler: you’re going to get rejected from plenty of colleges, law schools, and jobs, so get ready for that), but I guarantee you’ll also have successes and joys that will eclipse even the most miserable of those teenage moments.

So chill. Seriously. It’ll all work out.


Your Future You

P.S. Don’t get that one haircut. It’ll seem like a good idea at the time, but trust me on this too.


About The Author: Tracy Badua is a Filipino American author of books full of humor, magic, and young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. By day, she is an attorney who works in national policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family time, and bites of her secret candy stash. She lives in San Diego with her family and photogenic Maltese. Her latest book, This Is Not A Personal Statement, comes out Tuesday.


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