Dear Akash,

You are officially twenty. Nope, I cannot believe it either. If it is any consolation, I still feel eighteen. Oh wait, I forgot. You are twelve, you cannot wait for years to whiz past you. You will probably laugh when I say I wish time had gone just a little bit slower if I took that little bit of more time growing up.

What changed, you must be wondering. Well, you saw life. As someone entering your teens, trust me when I say, what you know, is a fraction of what I do. The funny thing is, what I know is also a fraction of what I will probably know in the next few years. It is very different, entering your teenage years as opposed to leaving them behind.

I don’t mean to put you off. Those things you dreamed of as a child? Well many of them will come true. You can stay past 10 PM whenever you feel like it. You will have a phone and you will watch all kinds of shows and movies. You will go on trips with your friends and you will be able to live, on your terms, more or less. It is not bad.

However, like most things, there are a few things which honestly you never saw coming. You probably don’t even know what taxes are, do you? Soon you (or more accurately I) will have to start paying them. Do you know how you always wanted freedom? Well, you have to make choices now, tough ones, no mum, and dad to make them for you. Most importantly: You know how you thought 18 was ancient? It isn’t. I am 20 and I still feel just as lost as you probably do, just in a very different context.

There are a few things I wish I would have known when I was you, some things which would have made life a lot easier. If I could go back in time and tell you some things, these would be it:

Do not take your parents for granted. Yes, the ones you think are too strict and bossy and annoying. You will eventually come to the realization I have come to, through your own mistakes. However, there is no one else who is going to be in your corner more than they are. There is no one else who will fight your battles for you as hard as they would. There is no one else who will shield you from the woes life throws at you more than they do. The next time they tell you to do your homework, do it, don’t throw that tantrum. The next time they tell you they love you, say it back, don’t cringe. Hold on to them as tightly as you can, because there is no one more precious than them. I mean they might still be annoying and you will still fight with them seven years in the future, but whether they know it or not, there is no one else who you will love more.

Your family is not going to be the only family you have. Do you know Apoorv, the boy who has been your best friend since you were three years old? Well, he is a man now and is still your best friend. You are going to meet a really annoying friend called Anshul, and you are going to get extremely close to him as well. Those two are going to be your closest friends, for a long time, and I hope, and you should too, that it never changes. They are not going to be the only ones. You are going to meet so many kind, passionate, and incredible people, you are going to get close to and cherish. However, there is bad news. Along the way, you are going to lose a few of them. Some you will have falling outs with, others will just drift apart. Just know that, at the end of the day, it will be okay. All good things come to an end, so cherish them while they last.

You are going to face so many people who do not like you. Do not let this get you down. You should know that there is not one person in this world who everyone lies, do not take that personally. The number of people who love you are always going to outweigh the number of people who don’t. Trust me, I have lived it. You are going to experience the whole young love thing you have always wanted to experience, and you are going to face heartbreak. Yes, that’s the thing you never thought of. However, you are going to be okay. I write all of this to you so that you know just that one thing. You are going to be okay. How do I know that? It is because I would not ask you to change a single thing about yourself. You are anything but perfect, trust me, I know. You have so many flaws, no seriously, a lot. Even so, you will work on them. Some you will work past, and others you will learn to love with. Everything you are going to do, everything you are going to face, it is going to lead you to become me. You should not change a single thing, because I wouldn’t. You know why? Because you will be happy.

It is not going to be easy. Some days are going to be more difficult than others. You are going to let others down and others are going to let you down. You are going to face the biggest conundrum when it comes to figuring out what you want to do in life. Eventually, you will figure that out too. I am not saying you are going to figure it all out. God knows I haven’t. There are a million things I haven’t done, a million questions I still face. Just know, that is just life. It is like a Hydra, you solve one mystery and three others will pop up. It is going to be frustrating and you WILL feel like banging your head against the wall but you will come through it. One day at a time. Just enjoy the days you have. You will never know that you are in the “good old days” till you aren’t. At the end of the day, no matter how messy life gets, it is going to surely be worth it. Whatever happens, I am proud of you (I think) and so are our parents and friends (I know)


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