My Letter to 17 Year Old Me
March 18, 2015 Dear 17 Year Old Ben,
I wanted to sit down and write this letter to you because I think you deserve it. I think you deserve to know that everything is going to work out. I know you’re not THAT worried, but that’s because you don’t know the struggles and challenges you are going to face. I know you’re never going to believe this, but you live in New York City now. I know right? So cool. It has been a challenging ride, but you have turned out great so far. Let me back up and tell you a little bit about what’s going to happen in the next five years that gets to to where you are now (in 2015).
First of all, I have to confess something-- you never got famous on YouTube. I’m sorry. It just never happened. When you got to college, you kind of just stopped making videos. But it’s totally okay. You did something better.
You started an online store on a website called Etsy. You ended up creating a company called “Wonder Wallets” and it was actually kind of successful. You made some money and you sold about 100 wallets to people all around the world. In different countries too! It was actually cool!It was your THING.
You should know that, even though you didn’t think it was possible, you make some REALLY good friends in college. Like, real friends and you would die without them. I know you were worried about that, but you’re fine. I promise you.
Also-- newsflash: you’re like, out as a gay person. Don’t freak out. It all will start to come to you and it will be basically easy. Most people will be so okay with it, and you’ll be so much happier. Go with the flow, and literally don’t even worry about it. Take your time. You’ll still be single AF so not that much will change, lol. Seriously, do not even worry. When it’s time, it’s time.
There’s going to be this new social media that comes out called Instagram, and you’ll actually really like it. And something called Snapchat. Don’t write it off, it will come around and be cool.
You’re going to take 4.5 years to graduate college. That’s still faster than so many people, so don’t even worry about it.
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
At 22, you are still not famous, but you’re well liked by the people in your life and sometimes they make jokes about you being famous. You’re in the process of publishing a book, but it’s like low key. But you have a book coming out! That’s exciting!
In college, you had a few jobs. You actually did become an RA, so there’s that. You did it for literally three years, and that’s where you made most of your friends. You also worked at DSW, the shoe store for like 6 months, and you loved that. You ALSO had an internship at an SF start-up, and it turned out to be super cool. AN INTERNSHIP!
Long story short, college was great!
You’re going to meet someone named Ande, who you will define as your “college BFF,” and you two are literally going to move to New York City together. You are going to be leaving a LOT behind, but it’s going to feel like it’s worth it. You won’t really understand why it feels like it’s so worth it, but it will. Lastly, you’re going to get a real job right out of college. You’re going to search for a minute, but you’ll find one.
I guess what I mean to say is that you are going to be alright. It’s going to be fine. All the things you are worried about (not making new friends, not knowing what you want to do in college, etc) are going to be just fine.
Here’s my advice-- Literally be yourself at any cost. Whatever that means to you at 17, just do it. Literally, screw anyone who disapproves. I can tell you for a FACT that every single “hater” you have is going NOWHERE. You will be the winner in the end. You are literally going to learn that their opinions are soooooooooooooooooooo pointless. So just go for it. Do whatever you feel like, and be free. You are unlike anyone else. Flaunt it.
Love and admiration,
22 Year Old Ben
New York City