Dear Younger Me,
You are me–but not really. We’re almost two different people, in fact. You, young and unaware, are happy. I am all of those things too, but in a different way. Your happiness is constant. I am now forced to look for mine, and it is exhausting.
You take a lot for granted now–attention, an audience–and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, keep doing it. You have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be ignored, or to have your thoughts belittled for anything other than being a kid.
When you get “old” (“old” is in quotation marks because I’m not really old – I still can’t drive), things will change. You’ll struggle to find an audience because people will be less likely to listen to you, and you’ll be less likely to speak. I mean, you don’t talk much now but imagine how bad I am with conversations (very).
Practice beginning conversations. Ending them. Responding to getting cut off mid-sentence. Repressing the urge to cut other people off mid-sentence. Do it while there are a million and one adults and children willing to listen to whatever you say. Now there aren’t, and it stinks.
I, still young and unaware, am not able to take attention and an audience for granted because I rarely have them. That’s both my fault and not. So, I’ll give you a final word of advice (more likely to be followed than the plethora of “practices”) – cope with your loss of an audience with humor whenever possible. Make fun of your parents, your classmates, and most importantly, yourself. One day, if you start to get your audience back, they might appreciate it.