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Dear Younger Cassie

My dad recently sent me my “letter to myself” that I wrote in 8th grade. I will spare you the pain of having to read it; it’s 26 pages long and honestly just cringy to read for so many reasons. However, it did inspire me to write a letter to middle school me to explain how life turned out over five years later.

Dear Cassie,

First of all, you survived high school and almost half of college! Congrats! That is an accomplishment in itself. I recently was able to read the letter you wrote to yourself and it was really eye-opening. Honestly, most of the struggles that you faced that seemed so big at the time, I had kinda forgotten about. Looking back, it will all be okay even though it may not seem like it right now. I’m so happy to tell you how you are doing and let you know that it is okay if your life doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping.

There is no road map in life, I’m sure you know this already. If I ever had the chance to meet you, I think this is what I would like to say. Here are the 20 pieces of advice I would try to give you for the (almost) 20 years I have been alive. Full disclosure, some of these I am still trying to believe and live by. I am sure I am missing so many things I wish I would have known in the past five years, but here are the most important things I remember.

  1. You are a daughter of God and that will forever be enough
  2. You will never be alone; God is always present, especially when you can’t feel him
  3. Your faith will continue to save you every day of your life
  4. Never feel ashamed of your faith (I’m still learning this one)
  5. Accepting God’s love and trying to reciprocate it is the best decision you will ever make
  6. There is nothing wrong with having friends older than you. They will soon become your second family
  7. The more time you spend with Jesus, the happier you will be
  8. Prayer is just a conversation with your best friend, there are no rules you have to follow
  9. High school can be hard without a close friend group, but there is a reason many best friendships are formed in college. P.S. Living next to your best friends is such an incredible experience
  10. You learn more from failure than you ever will from success. It might take falling off your loft the night before an exam to get you to slow down to breathe, but it is so important
  11. Sometimes losing a relationship is the biggest blessing you could ever ask for in life
  12. Just because you don’t have a mind-blowing Jesus conversion story doesn’t make your story any less valid
  13. Your relationship with God is the most important relationship in your own life
  14. Grades are important, but so many other things are as well. PLEASE take time away from the books and make sure you are present to those closest to you. At the end of the day on the bigger side of life, grades really won’t help you, but your friends will
  15. Please stop trying to impress everyone around you and only compare yourself to the you that you were yesterday. At the end of each day, you are the only person who is with you 24 hours a day and it is most important for you to be happy with who you are
  16. Be present in the moment. Please don’t wish each day away because eventually, you will wish away your whole life.
  17. One day, you will finally be able to smile with authentic joy. Please hold onto this joy and know it all comes from above
  18. Everything in life is gradual, very few things happen overnight, but looking back you will be mountains from where you started.
  19. Try to say a little “yes” to God every day whether that is prayer when you are exhausted, going to adoration for five minutes, or reading a book of the bible instead of looking at Instagram. These little “yeses” can add up to something much greater.
  20. You are exceptionally yourself and no one else will ever be you

But in all honesty, I don’t think I would tell you any of this. The struggles and accomplishments that you face will make you who you are today. I am proud of who I am becoming, and it is all because of the triumphs and challenges I have faced in my life; many of which you are struggling with right now.

I will tell you this: it may not get easier, but it gets better, so much better.

With Love,

Cassie from the future

Hello! My name is Cassie Nooyen and I am a sophomore at St. Norbert College double majoring in Computer Science with an emphasis in Graphic Design and Mathematics. Explore my blog and learn a little bit about my adventure called life!

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