A Letter to My Teenage Self on High School Graduation

Snapshot of a group of girls smiling for the camera in their graduation gowns
Carlisle High School graduation, 2002. Thanks for the photo, Vi!

Congratulations on making it through high school!  I know there was never any real doubt that you would graduate, but you should celebrate anyway.  No, you aren’t as emotional as many of the other girls, who are crying about leaving their best friends, singing Vitamin C’s graduation song, and talking about how life will never be the same again.  You’re ready to move on to bigger and better things.  But someday, even though you’d never want to relive it, you’ll be a little nostalgic about your high school experience.  So you should go to the graduation parties, have fun at senior beach week, and try to appreciate this moment — because it’s true, your life never will be the same again.

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Don’t Let Your Personal Brand Hold You Back

Drawing of a woman in sunglasses and a head scarf
Self-portrait, 2004. For details or to purchase, please contact Alexis.

By the time we reach our mid- to late- twenties, most of us have adopted labels for ourselves.  We’ve come up with short ways to describe ourselves to someone we’ve just met.  We’ve developed our personal brands.  We’ve crafted elevator pitches and written social media introductions and online dating profiles.  We tend to use nouns for this purpose: I’m a writer, a dog-lover, a runner, an ENTP, an introvert, an empath.  These descriptions help us to order our lives and to feel a sense of solid identity.

The problem with such labels is that they can make it very difficult to change.  Our interests and personalities are not static.  To some extent, our identities are fluid — or they should be, if we have any hope of adapting to life’s unexpected events.

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