Today is day 10 of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge and today’s prompt is: Dear 16-year-old-me.
Today’s challenge was to write a letter to ourselves at age 16. As I sat pondering how to respond to the prompt, I remembered the letter I wrote to an 18-year-old-me during National Health Blog Post Month back in November. After reading that post and giving it some thought, I concluded that nothing would change between the letter I wrote then and what I would write now. So, today I’m sharing that letter again. Enjoy!
I am the ghost of your wild and crazy future. I’m writing today to tell you about some exciting and horrifying events that will unfold in your future. Let me tell you, you’re in for one hell of a ride. So, lets begin.
I regret to inform you that your 18th year will be a rough one. The day of your birthday, you’ll be at the hospital with a beloved uncle, hoping and praying that he’ll recover and be home soon. A couple months later, just an hour after you’ve called the hospital to relay the news that you’ve aced your senior project presentation, your uncle will die with you having the chance to say good bye.
You’ll go to your senior prom two days later, but it won’t be a joyous occasion. Two weeks after that, you’ll graduate high school.
You’ll head to college in August, 250 miles from home. You’ll be lonely and scared, but you’ll adjust rather well over time. And you’ll meet the love of your life on the first day your on campus. And 9 years later, you’ll still be in love with her.
You’ll experience some tough breaks in college. Like the broken leg you’ll endure just the first semester of your junior year. You’ll question your ability to complete the semester and graduate on time because of this injury. Yet, in your usual stubborn way, you’ll trudge through that storm like every other. You’ll have plenty of help, of course, but your own resilience will amaze you. And everyone else.
You’ll graduate from college on time, and with honors. You’ll struggle to make ends meet for a while, like so many will, but you’ll land a decent job. And you’ll enjoy what you do. For a while anyway. Like everyone else.
Then, just months after finally becoming eligible for health insurance at work, you’ll develop an infection. A yeast infection. And it won’t go away. You’ll finally relent and go to the doctor. The doctor will subject you to a battery of tests, and will diagnose you with type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure.
You’ll fear for your life and lose much sleep because of haunting thoughts of dying in your sleep because your heart will be so weak. You’ll learn to manage your diabetes quickly, and get into a routine of testing, medicating, and eating properly. And you’ll use your knowledge of the internet to seek out information about your conditions. And to find support.
After discovering social networks and blogs devoted to diabetes, and seeing the value of them, you’ll launch a blog of your own. You’ll tell your story, eventually be published in a national diabetes magazine, and travel the country to meet other people with diabetes.
And through the experiences with your health, advocacy efforts, etc… you’ll find a reason and purpose for living. And finally, you’ll realize how short and precious life really is. You’ll commit yourself to living each day to the fullest.
So, there you have it. A glimpse into your future. Probably not at all what you expected, but it is what it is. And you’ll learn to deal with it. And maybe even be thankful for the experiences you have along the way.
And remember, “Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming … WOW! What a ride!”
An Older, Wiser You.