A Letter To My 21-year Old Self

Hey, fresh graduate!

Congratulations! You made it out of college. That is one of, if not, the most fulfilling achievement in your life right now! Those graduation photos bring so much nostalgia, does it? Treasure the stories behind those photos as a sweet victorious reminder of your almost two decades of academic work with 4 years of a rollercoaster-like college ride!

Those medals and diplomas indeed look good, too! They can be great room and resume decors but, truth be told, those are just… well, things.

Got plans to go to New York for your Masters? That’s great! Your vision board taped behind your closet door looks ambitious as well. Your own house and lot, a booming business, a regular job up the ladder, a stamp-filled passport, and your own car. That timeline of 7 years is also an intelligent detail. You sure want a financially-stable and secured life for you and your family. You also want to marry your long-term boyfriend, I see.

Well, those dreams aren’t bad at all. Those dreams are amazing! For a 21-year old fresh-graduate, who doesn’t want to envision a bright future, right?  But, truth be told, those are just… well, temporary things.

So I hope that you don’t live your life just for those temporary things. You may be facing a lot of uncertainties, fears and doubts right now but temporary things can never heal those deep-seated things.

But in case you don’t take my word for it and still choose to live your life for those dreams/temporary things a.k.a. “the standards of this world,” you’ll end up staying at work until two in the morning and not be concerned about it at all. The world will call you a hard worker thus people will think highly of you, and that might keep your ego going. Your unending bucket list might keep you motivated as well. That self-will will be your cornerstone, and you’ll look at your professional work as a crust of bread during famine.

You’ll begin to have a hard time saying no to your boss (because of course you want some salary increase, that promotion, some credentials or at least stability). Worse, you’ll be excessively obsequious towards your boss and not see it yourself. You might even unknowingly use people or step on people for your own gain.

You’ll disregard the things that matter more — your loved ones and the people around you. Your only focus will be yourself — what you should be doing now and what’s next. Comparing yourself to other people, with traces of envy and discontentment, will be a part of your daily thoughts. Comparison will also implore you to constantly compete.

Worse, you’ll deny or reason out that you are being/doing any of these things.

You’ll feel tired, anxious and unsatisfied 99% of the time. The remaining 1% percent will try to cover those feelings up.

Your desire for worldly satisfaction, triggered by your personal insecurities and disappointments, will only lead you to be obsessed for affirmation, not only from your boyfriend but ALL THE MORE from the things you think will make you happy.

Some might call it a Crisis Stage but dear one, it’s more of not having Christ in your life.

I’m writing to you to warn you that even though you might find happiness from your job, your dating or courtship life, your salary and the things you can do with it, your ambitions or the people around you who support it, none of those things will give you peace and security.

I’m writing to you (from eight years later) to implore you to go to God now. 

Not later.

Not tomorrow.

Not next year.

But now.

Go to God now because even though you think you got it all figured out already or even if you think you got strategies to figure things out for you, know that without God, whatever you have figured out or trying to figure out for your life are just… well, self-absorbed, world-calibrated, empty things.

Listen. I am not invalidating your dreams. Who doesn’t want to feel secure and happy, right? However, I hope that you find those from the only One who is capable of TRULY giving it. No, “the only One” did not mean the company, boss or business you’re going to work for. It’s not even yourself!

Dear one, worldly success is a horrible hero and even a worse god. 

It is a creed that instills prizes titles, status, and public as more important than a personal relationship with God and Christlike character. Just to be clear, success is not a curse. It only becomes a curse when it quietly becomes your savior.

Don’t fall for it. If today you hear God’s voice, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:15). Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19).

I wish this letter won’t sound heavy to you. I wish you’ll consider these things through because nothing is heavier than not having Jesus as Lord and Savior.

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