by Natalie Yuhas
Dear 13-Year-Old Natalie,
Right now you are sitting at your desk in the 8th grade at St. Rita. You’re staring at the questionnaire about yourself that will go in the Class of 2008 memory book next to your picture. You’re anxious about what to write down because this is how you will be remembered forever once you move on to high school. I know you are stuck on one blank space on this form. One stupid question. What was your favorite memory at St. Rita? You will look to your left and to your right to see what your friends have put down. Most people will write the zoo trip you took or the 8th grade musical, but we both know you got kicked out of music class this year for accidentally rolling your eyes at your teacher. The musical wasn’t your thing. That’s okay. After thinking about it for way too long, you are going to write down something nerdy, but really important: “My favorite memories were making the history videos in seventh and eighth grade.”
That answer doesn’t seem like it matters, but it totally does. Want to know why? Because right now you are making music videos with your friends to Ne-Yo songs on that little orange video camera you got for Christmas, but I am writing to you from the year 2016 where you have just accepted your first big-girl job as a videographer and video editor. Isn’t that so crazy? Remember to thank dad for the countless days you spent watching him behind the camera when you were little and to thank mom for letting you destroy the house and yard in the name of “creative genius” for your sets. Thank them both for their endless support in every way possible, because there is no way you would be here without it. You’re going to fight with them ruthlessly in the coming years, but don’t ever forget that they are truly the best.
I also have some bad news for you. You’re going to be super uncool in high school and you’re going to look ugly as sin when you get braces. On top of that, you’re going to work your butt off and still not get in to your top choice college. It will feel like the end of the world. But, after spending a week refusing to leave bed and submitting your deposit to The Ohio State University, mom is going to drag your sorry butt out of bed and onto a plane to Boston. You’re going to sit next to the statue of St. Ignatius on BC’s campus and suddenly realize this is where you need to be. Really take everything in when you are sitting by the harbor for the first time with mom. You will go back to that spot time and time again, but it will never be as special as that first moment when everything finally made sense.
Boston College will bring its ups and downs and you will be challenged in every single way. Your faith will change, and you should let it. You’ll meet people who challenge it and reaffirm it, but that is how you will make up your own mind about what you believe. Never forget that God works through people, and that you can plan for the future as much as you want, but it will never go according to your plan. That is a very, very good thing, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Also, even though you will disagree with some of the Catholic Church’s teaching, never forget that faith, more than anything, is about loving others; nothing is more important than that.
You know how you are feeling right now about moving on to high school? Well, you’re going to feel it again when you’re about to go college and you’re going to feel it the most when you start to stress out about graduating college. People are going to tell you that it is impossible to get a job in video production right out of college with how little experience you have, but that just means you have to work harder, much harder, and have a whole lot of faith.
Now, what I am about to tell you is super important. I know the Cleveland Browns are God-awful and that the Indians will inevitably let you down again this season, but listen to me when I say that God loves Cleveland. In what feels like divine intervention, you will overhear someone talking about how he is from Cleveland, and naturally, you will have to stop to talk to him about it. After talking for awhile about your favorite parts of Ohio, you will begin to talk about your interests and your internships. He will mention that his company has a videographer position opening up in the next few months and to keep in touch. I’m telling you, your obsession with Cleveland will get you places, because God loves Cleveland as much as you do, and, like mom always tells you, you need to trust the process; God opens the doors that need to be opened.
Lastly, enjoy every single moment because it will all go by far too quickly. Did I tell you to thank mom and dad already? Go do it again and again and again. You’ll never thank them enough. Good luck, kid. I love you.
Your Future Self
P.S. Oh, and destroy the video of you dancing to “So Sick” by Ne-Yo because you are the worst dancer ever and that will never change.