dear 15-year-old me,

Things are going to change. A lot of things. I know the iPhone 5S just came out and the whole "unlock your phone with your fingerprint" thing is pretty cool and all, but it's 2017 and Donald Trump is president. No, I'm not kidding, but that's a whole other thing that we don't have time for right now.

You are going to change. 

You just got the job of your dreams. It's going to be incredible. You're going to have the time of your life and, in two years, that's all going to be taken away from you. The people that became your second family and your second home will all part ways, and it will be weeks and then months until you all see each other again when you used to count on seeing them every day. Everything you worked so hard and so long for is going to go away and you will not be able to do a single thing about it except let it happen. Do not let it make you bitter. Let it make you stronger. 

You are going to have your first kiss. It will not be anything special. There will be no fireworks or music and it won't even be completely on your lips because you're going to think he's going for a cheek-kiss so you'll turn your head a little and it will all be slightly crooked and a little uncomfortable. You're going to think, "what's all the hype about?" Until you meet him. The first boy that gives you real life butterflies and makes you feel special in that way that only he can. You're going to think that everything is finally right. Soon, you will realize that it couldn't be more wrong. Once again, it will all be taken from you. It's going to hurt. No one will quite understand why you feel it so deeply and it's going to feel a little lonely for a while. Do not let it make you bitter. Let it make you stronger. 

You are going to love people, and those people are going to leave you. They will not tell you why, and you will never get to ask them. You are going to think about it until it makes you dizzy and you are going to start to believe that everyone leaves eventually. You will learn that you are wrong. You will learn that you are wrong, but it will not be without pain. You will have sleepless nights and endless journal entries and long talks with Jesus about it, and you will feel like no one is listening and your words are just a whisper overpowered by the noise of the rest of the world. Do not let it make you bitter. Let it make you stronger. 

But all that is not for a couple years. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Right now, you are happy. You are so happy about the way your future is looking and you are so happy about the state of contentment that has washed over your life. You should be. Stay happy about those things. Hold those things close to your heart and don't let the world chase them away.

But you are also so secretly unhappy.

You look in the mirror and you say terrible things to the person you see. You sacrifice sleep and spend nights in the gym. You count calories and berate yourself for the number you see at the end of the day. You do not let yourself savor the first moment you get to step on a red carpet because you are too busy worrying about the way your legs look in that dress and if your eyes are puffy from crying the night before about the way your legs look in that dress. Spoiler alert: those pictures turn out great and you end up kicking yourself for not smiling bigger or striking a pose instead of looking guarded and trying to hide yourself. Start practicing self-love now, because it will only get harder down the road. Start believing you are beautiful now, because there will only be more voices telling you that you aren't as you get older. Eat the cupcake without thinking about how many minutes you will have to run on the treadmill later to burn it off. Eat the cupcake because you want to eat the cupcake. Enjoy it. 

Remember that you are young. I know you feel like time is slipping away because when you were 10 years old, you promised yourself that by this time you would have already accomplished 75% of your life goals and yet you've barely scratched the surface. Stop focusing on the goals you haven't achieved, and start acknowledging what you have. 

Stop worrying about what people on the internet think. You don't have to post that picture with that guy because you think it will get more likes. You don't have to tweet that thing about something that didn't happen just so people will think you are so funny and #relatable. Put your phone down. You are living one of the best years of your life. Treasure it. 

Spend time with your family. Your older sister is going to leave for college soon, and it will hit you harder than you expected that your life-long best friend is gone and you will feel as if she took a part of you with her when she left. Your little sisters are growing up before your eyes, and you aren't going to realize it until it's too late. Play the board games they want to play and do the things they want to do with you because soon enough they will no longer want to simply play, and if they do, it will not be with you. 

Tell more people about Jesus. Don't just post a Bible verse on Instagram. Go out and tell someone the Good News. Stop quoting the gospel, and start spreading it. 

Give people more second chances. Including yourself. 

Stop closing yourself off and start living. 

Things are going to change. Don't worry about those things yet. 

Eat the damn cupcake.