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An Open Letter to My High School Self

Graduation season is almost upon us! Five years ago I wrote letter to my high school self, and I just released a song inspired by some of these thoughts. Here’s some of what it said…

Dear JJ,

Congrats on making it into vocal ensemble! You won’t get very many solos, but don’t let this discourage you. God has something amazing in store for your future. I would tell you about it, but you wouldn’t believe me.

Don’t beat yourself up too much for missing that potentially game-winning shot sophomore year. You worked hard in practice and gave it your all. You can rest in that. Life is more than wins and losses. When you have a house of your own someday, you won’t have a single trophy on display.

You’re not going to find the love of your life in high school, so don’t take things too seriously. Just use this time to learn about relationships.

Now listen up, because this is important. When your senior-year boyfriend tells you that he doesn’t care for brown eyes, tell him that you don’t care for his insensitivity. Someday soon you’ll marry a man named Dave who will love your brown eyes. The two of you will have a daughter named Lucy whose dark brown eyes will melt your hearts. And then you’ll have a daughter named Nora who will have your husband’s gray/green/blue eyes that will look just like the ocean.

Make sure to thank your freshman English teacher for telling you that you have a talent for creative writing. Her suggestion to move you up to honors English will be one of the best decisions of your life. You’ll fall in love with the power and beauty of words in that class.

Give your sister a compliment now and then and look for ways to connect. Make sure to tell her you love her. High school is hard on everybody.

Thank Mom for not just coming to every single volleyball match, softball and basketball game, but for being the most enthusiastic one there. No one could deny the love in her voice. She will always be your cheerleader.

Thank Dad for taking you to “the little gym” every Sunday night so you can practice your shot. You will shoot thousands of times over the next few years, and with every rebound, Dad is saying, “I love you.”

The popular kids will disappear from view as soon as you pack up your graduation gown, so spend time with the people who love you. Invest in your family. They will be in your life when high school is just a memory.

In some ways, life will surpass your wildest expectations, but it will also bring darker times than you ever imagined.

It may take a while to learn, but you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. You will make mistakes, but you are loved.

Don’t try to grow up too fast.


Your future self

Make sure to visit JJ Heller’s official site for more music and updates!


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