|Part I: the general stuff you need to know right now|
Dear 17-year-old self,
Eleventh grade stinks just as much as you think it does. At 17, you feel like an adult (sometimes), but you still have all of the rules and regulations that comes with being a high schooler. Though you feel like the people around you should be with you forever--and the thought of being separated from them feels like torture--you will realize that moving away from those closest to you is an inevitable part of growing up. Don't worry: you will grow apart from your high school friends, but you will always, always keep them in your heart and think of them fondly as you all go to the right colleges for each of you, begin your careers, move far and wide, and start families of your own.
|First day of school, 2001. Embrace the uniform!|
|The gang, 12th grade year. Shannon's 18th birthday. (L to R) Sims, Stephanie, Liz, Shannon, Katrina, Claire, me, Nicole and Anna-Kate|
|Landon and Natalie, summer 2004.|
|Family Christmas card, 2011.|
|San Juan, Puerto Rico. August 2008.|
|St. Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews, Scotland. November 2011.|
|Clemson Graduation, May 2007.|
And above all, know that life is a journey. Don't rush one part because you're trying to get to another. It's not all wonderful, but it is all a learning experience. People will come and go in your life. You will change your own perspectives on the world. But through it all, love your family and love yourself. You are an amazing person.
The 27-year-old Natalie
(Update 9/15/2012: Linked up with Chatting with the Sky's Dear Teenage Self linky party)
Wnat to see what the almost-30 year old Natalie has to say to 17-year-old Natalie? Read here.